UTILITIES: Arizona regulators reverse last year’s denial of Salt River Project’s proposed natural gas plant expansion in a historically Black community after the utility agrees to scale back the project, move it further from homes and invest in community and environmental projects. (ABC15)

New Mexico officials distribute state Energy Transition Act funds to more than 300 workers displaced by the 2022 closure of the San Juan coal power plant and associated mine. (Farmington Daily Times)
Wyoming officials urge the Biden administration to lift an Obama-era federal coal leasing moratorium, saying it would kill the state’s mining production. (Cowboy State Daily)

POLLUTION: A study finds wildfire smoke was a major contributor to ground-level ozone in Colorado during the summer of 2021, raising questions about the effectiveness of proposed pollution reduction measures. (CPR)

California startup Lunar Energy unveils vertically integrated battery, inverter and software technology to power and operate home electrical systems. (Canary Media)
Washington and Oregon challenge a federal court’s decision nixing Berkeley, California’s natural gas hookup ban, saying it could put other public health and safety protections at risk. (OPB)

• Tucson, Arizona, considers building a microgrid powered by solar panels installed over a 15-mile transit route. (Arizona Luminaria)  
Federal energy analysts say increased solar generation capacity is deepening  California’s “duck curve,” or a midday drop in net power load followed by a steep climb when solar generation drops off. (EIA)

Arizona sets aside $850,000 for a feasibility study of a privately funded elevated tramway system proposed for a Phoenix suburb. (Arizona Republic)
Transit agencies across California see varying rates of ridership recovery from pandemic-era lows according to location and rider demographics. (New York Times)
• Washington state analysts attribute rising gasoline prices to a new carbon-pricing program. (Yakima Herald-Republic)
• A startup working to develop hydrogen-powered airplanes plans to move its flight test facility from Washington state to California. (Seattle Times)

• Democratic federal lawmakers from New Mexico urge the U.S. EPA to tighten restrictions on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)   
• Colorado regulators launch an enforcement process against a Denver-area refinery for multiple alleged violations of state pollution rules. (9News) 

BIOFUELS: California environmental justice advocates call on regulators to close a loophole exempting biomass power plants from state greenhouse gas emissions standards. (news release)

GEOTHERMAL: The Port of Oakland agrees to purchase $13.5 million worth of geothermal power from a northern California facility over 12 years. (news release)

CRITICAL MINERALS: Environmental groups sue the U.S. Forest Service for allegedly violating federal laws when authorizing mining exploration projects in southern Arizona. (Arizona Republic)

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Jonathan hails from southwestern Colorado and has been writing about the land, cultures, and communities of the Western United States for more than two decades. He compiles the Western Energy News digest. He is the author of three books, a contributing editor at High Country News, and the editor of the Land Desk, an e-newsletter that provides coverage and context on issues critical to the West.