PIPELINES: A federal judge on Tuesday questioned whether West Virginia regulators have adequately addressed water concerns in issuing a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, signaling another possible setback for the project. (E&E News)

ALSO: A lobbyist and “unconditional friend” to Sen. Joe Manchin has received at least $405,000 in fees from a natural gas group that would be a key beneficiary of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (E&E News)

• A $12.7 million federal grant will help Louisiana plug abandoned oil and gas wells in four wildlife refuges. (WWNO)
• Richmond, Virginia’s natural gas utility says it will spend $100 million over the next five years upgrading its distribution system. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

NUCLEAR: Tennessee Valley Authority President Jeff Lyash says the utility is aiming to build at least 20 small modular reactors as part of its goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

• Duke Energy says its recent investments in smart grid technology saved 3.3 million hours in outage time after Hurricane Ian. (Daily Energy Insider)
• Florida Power and Light has removed the last two wooden power poles in Palm Beach County, replacing them with concrete structures that are more resistant to storms. (WPTV)

• Georgia Power is proposing a new $200 interconnection fee for rooftop solar arrays, with opponents saying the utility is already overcollecting from customers. (Solar Power World)
• Work begins on a 150 MW solar and storage project near Waco, Texas. (Solar Power World)

POLITICS: Georgia’s pivotal Senate race, like many, offers a sharp contrast on climate, with incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock centering the issue and his opponent, Herschel Walker, offering unclear statements. (Inside Climate News)

• Activists marched in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to draw attention to illness attributed to pollution in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley. (Washington Informer)
• Protestors gathered at the EPA’s Atlanta office last week to urge the agency to crack down on pollution from wood pellet operations in rural communities. (Atlanta Voice)

COAL ASH: Officials in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, plan a new development atop a 60,000-ton coal ash deposit, maintaining that it is safer to leave the ash in place as scientists warn of exposure to arsenic, lead and other toxins. (Indy Week)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A planned lithium processing facility in Tennessee is expected to be the nation’s largest. (WPLN)

TRANSPORTATION: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin says his administration is “fully behind” a proposal to extend passenger rail to the state’s far southwest corner. (Roanoke Times)

COMMENTARY: An environmental advocate says a recent North Carolina executive order accelerating a transition to zero-emission trucks and buses will have economic, health and climate benefits for the whole state. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)

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Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.