COAL: The U.S. Justice Department sues 13 coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice over failure to pay more than $5 million in penalties for mine cleanup violations, leading the governor’s own lawyers to characterize the businesses as “disorganized.” (Charleston Gazette-Mail; Politico; E&E News, subscription)

• Experts say debt ceiling deal’s inclusion of a provision to force completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline should withstand legal scrutiny, despite worries it upends the balance of power between Congress and federal courts. (Washington Post)
• U.S. House Republicans, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the White House and fossil fuel lobbyists all played key roles in the push to include the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the debt deal over the opposition of local residents and climate activists. (Washington Post)

• Toyota announces another $2.1 billion investment in a North Carolina electric and hybrid vehicle battery factory that’s still under construction. (Associated Press)
• The head of Virginia’s trucking association expresses concerns about proposed federal emissions standards for heavy trucks that could push fleets to electrify by 2055. (Virginia Mercury)

• Duke Energy plans to build a 9.5 MW solar farm and 17 MW battery storage facility on the site of a shuttered North Carolina coal-fired power plant. (Spectrum News)
• A field of solar panels provides power for a Virginia home built in England in the 16th century and then moved to the U.S. in the 1920s. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• A Florida rice mill adds 900 solar panels and a Tesla Megapack battery as it tries to attain carbon neutrality. (WPTV)

• The CEO of Texas’ grid manager assures state residents the grid should withstand summer temperatures and energy demand, reversing course from earlier warnings about a shortage of on-demand, dispatchable power. (Spectrum News)
• Texas’ grid manager launches a new warning system to alert the public about weather events that may affect power demand or require conservation measures. (Houston Chronicle)

HYDROGEN: A Texas hydrogen plant where construction has been delayed by supply chain issues pledges to nevertheless make good on tax payments to fund a local hospital’s expansion. (Olney Enterprise)

BUILDINGS: A sustainability company signs a 20-year energy savings performance contract to improve sustainability at a 350-acre, three-venue sports complex that’s home to the Houston Astrodome. (news release)

MINING: A Virginia county considers banning or restricting metallic mining as a company investigates gold mining in the area. (Farmington Herald)

• Louisiana lawmakers postpone a vote on a proposal to cut severance taxes on oil producers that would cost the state $97 million over the next five years. (DeSmog Blog)
• Workers haul a $5.7 billion Chevron oil platform through a Texas shipping channel out into the Gulf of Mexico. (KIII)

CLIMATE: Forecasters say the combination of a strong El Niño and warming Atlantic Ocean inject uncertainty into the pending hurricane season. (Inside Climate News)

UTILITIES: Jacksonville, Florida’s municipal utility sees challenges to its plan to expand its use of nuclear and solar energy as it shifts from fossil fuels. (Jacksonville Today)

COMMENTARY: The Mountain Valley Pipeline should not blame its multi-year delays on opposition from environmental groups but its failure to secure permits that can withstand judicial scrutiny, writes an activist. (Roanoke Times)

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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.