OIL & GAS: Environmental groups blast the U.S. EPA for not challenging the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plan to replace a retiring coal-fired plant with natural gas despite its previous recommendation to use renewables and energy efficiency. (Associated Press)

ALSO: A proposed rail merger would create the first direct route from Canada’s bitumen oil sands mines to crude refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, creating worries about additional air pollution and the risk of an oil spill. (Guardian)

• An electric vehicle charger manufacturer announces plans to expand its Tennessee factory to eventually produce up to 30,000 fast chargers a year. (Tennessean)
• Experts discuss Tennessee’s emergence as an electric vehicle manufacturing hub and its potential to grow. (Nashville Business Journal)
• A Republican North Carolina lawmaker introduces a bill to charge electric vehicle owners a mileage-based fee, while Louisiana lawmakers consider a similar fee to augment or replace the gas tax. (Winston-Salem Journal, Louisiana Illuminator)

FINANCE: A high-profile green energy finance company in Florida prepares to restart business despite lawsuits, customer complaints and an ongoing investigation by the state attorney general. (WLRN)

• Solar manufacturer Qcells chooses firms to design and build its planned $2.5 billion factory in Georgia. (Power Technology)
• A Florida developer builds 86 solar and battery-powered homes that will produce more energy than they consume, with another 720 units planned. (Business Observer)
• A Florida city considers changing its land development code to regulate ground-mounted solar systems. (WKRG)
• A South Carolina county board considers a solar moratorium after residents complain about the loss of views and agricultural land. (Times and Democrat)
• A survey shows 64% of Texans favor expanding solar power, 59% support geothermal plants and 57% want wind, while smaller numbers support nuclear and gas plants. (University of Houston)

NUCLEAR: Democratic Virginia lawmakers strip nuclear power from a list of technologies to be covered by a state energy innovation fund, dealing a blow to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plan to build small modular reactors. (Cardinal News)

COAL: West Virginia lawmakers pass resolutions to urge Monongahela Power to buy a coal-fired power plant that’s otherwise slated to close in May. (Parkersburg News and Sentinel)

• Dominion Energy asks Virginia regulators to reinstate a charge to cover the cost of participation in a regional carbon market despite the governor’s push to withdraw from the organization. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• The leader of an electric cooperative in the Dallas suburbs discusses the dual challenges of rapid growth and extreme weather. (Forbes)

GRID: Austin, Texas’ city council fires its city manager over a slow and fumbled response to a sizable winter storm power outage earlier this month. (Texas Tribune)

• An Oklahoma pastor calls on the state’s TV weathercasters to acknowledge climate change’s role in extreme weather. (Oklahoma Gazette)
• Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plan to build a small modular nuclear reactor fails his own criteria because such reactors aren’t reliable, affordable or clean, writes a community organizer. (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.