UTILITIES: Florida Power & Light’s CEO announces he’ll step down next month after reporting tied him to a consulting firm accused of meddling in state and local campaigns and taking over a news website to attack critics. (Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald)

GRID: Puerto Rico awards a 10-year contract to a natural gas company to operate its aging fossil fuel-fired power plants, sparking criticism about a lack of transparency around the deal and its potential to slow the transition to renewables. (NBC News, Inside Climate News)

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COAL ASH: The U.S. EPA denies a Texas coal plant’s request to continue dumping toxic ash into an unlined pit as part of a broader action against six plants nationally. (Energy News Network, news release)

• Tampa Electric brings three new solar projects online, helping it surpass 1,000 MW of solar power as it transitions from coal. (WTVT)
• A South Carolina city approves a zoning change to allow the construction of two 100 MW solar farms. (Georgetown County News)
• The municipal utility in Jacksonville, Florida, signs a deal granting it access to 150 MW of solar power produced by Florida Power & Light. (Jacksonville Daily Record)
• An official with a South Korean company expanding its manufacturing facilities in Georgia says it wants to relieve a global supply crunch while capitalizing on solar module demand. (Utility Dive)

• Hyundai announces it will spend $8.5 billion on vehicle electrification this year, primarily on research and development and on building a new factory in Georgia. (Bloomberg)
• U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia moves to delay new tax credits for electric vehicles over loopholes to bypass requirements that EV batteries be made in North America. (Associated Press)
• The federal funding fueling construction of Florida’s electric vehicle charging network comes from spending legislation its Republican elected officials opposed. (CleanTechnica)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: U.S. EPA officials meet with members of a historic Black community in central Virginia that seek a study on the environmental impacts of several nearby industrial facilities. (Bay Journal)

OIL & GAS: West Virginia coal industry officials vocally oppose the construction of natural gas plants and pipelines as state lawmakers advance a bill to expedite permitting for natural gas projects. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Federal officials identify a conflict of interest by a contractor that monitors environmental compliance by the Mountain Valley Pipeline because it works on multiple projects by four of the five companies behind the pipeline. (Roanoke Times)
• A West Virginia county secures state and federal funding to build a $6 million natural gas pipeline extension to an industrial park. (WVVA)

STORAGE: A company agrees to buy a yet-to-be-built 75 MW battery storage project in Texas. (Renewables Now)

• Data reveals 214 people were killed by heat in Texas last year, more than half of whom were likely migrants who were crossing the border. (Texas Tribune)
Rising seas and urban sprawl squeeze a Texas county, especially renters and minorities. (Houston Chronicle) 

• The impending departure of Florida Power & Light’s CEO completes a major shift in the Southeast’s hierarchy of investor-owned power, writes a columnist. (Florida Times-Union)
• An editorial board calls for passage of legislation to lift a federal cap to allow Louisiana and other states to receive a greater share of offshore drilling revenue. (NOLA.com)
Virginia’s divided state legislature may still pass bills to facilitate use of solar by schools, build resiliency and ease the purchase of low-cost clean energy, writes an energy columnist. (Virginia Mercury)

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Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.