COAL: The U.S. EPA is investigating the closure plans of more than 160 unlined coal ash depositories that could contaminate groundwater, including facilities in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. (E&E News)

ALSO:
Representatives of Arizona and Wyoming coal communities call on the Biden administration to appoint a mine reclamation director and to enforce coal mine cleanup standards, noting the position has sat vacant for 17 months. (Inside Climate News)
The Biden administration urges Canada to join an investigation of cross-border coal mine pollution that flows into Montana lakes and rivers. (Vancouver Sun)

OIL & GAS:
The California oil and gas industry has spent nearly $6 million to defeat Ventura County ballot measures that would have tightened drilling regulations. (Ventura County Star)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tells a congressional committee her state proves methane emissions rules do not stymie oil and gas production. (E&E News, subscription)
California environmentalists and lawmakers urge the Biden administration not to fast-track the repair and restart of a pipeline that ruptured in October off the state’s southern coast. (news release)

STORAGE: A U.S. Army base in Colorado plans to install a 10-hour battery, the first megawatt-scale, long-duration energy storage system at a Defense Department facility. (news release)

TRANSPORTATION: Utilities and clean energy groups join the effort to ward off a legal challenge to the Biden administration’s decision to let California set stricter tailpipe emission standards than the federal government. (E&E News, subscription)

BIOFUEL: Hawaii labor unions protest regulators’ rejection of a power purchase agreement for a tree-burning power plant. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, subscription)

WIND: A renewable energy developer leases nearly 150,000 acres of New Mexico state land to build wind power facilities totaling 500 MW. (news release)

EFFICIENCY: An Alaska nonprofit is awarded $2 million in federal funds to provide heat pumps and other energy efficiency upgrades to low-income homes. (Juneau Empire)

CLIMATE: Colorado environmentalists say utilities have written off 200,000 tons of greenhouse gases from their books by selling polluting facilities to unregulated firms, even though the emissions continue. (Colorado Sun) 

UTILITIES: California city leaders call for an audit of an Orange County community choice energy agency, saying it has failed to be transparent. (Voice of OC)

COMMENTARY:
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who once supported the planned 2025 closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, now urges operators to keep it running to fight the “coming onslaught” of the climate change crisis. (Fresno Bee)   
A California policy analyst says efforts to protect Joshua trees could slow progress on climate goals by making utility-scale solar projects infeasible to build. (CalMatters)

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Jonathan P. Thompson

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.