GEOTHERMAL: The developer of a geothermal project proposed for a rare toad’s habitat in Nevada downsizes the planned facility after the amphibian receives federal protections. (Nevada Current) 

Montana officials seek to toss out water quality standards for a reservoir contaminated by selenium from an upstream coal mine following the mine operator’s campaign to strike the limits. (Montana Free Press)
Crews begin injecting cavity-filling foam into Utah’s largest coal mine in the latest attempt to extinguish a fire that has burned and halted production for three months so far. (Salt Lake Tribune)

OIL & GAS: California oil and gas industry officials consider suing Los Angeles over its recent drilling ban and plan to phase out existing wells. (Los Angeles Business Journal)

Colorado regulators approve Xcel Energy’s proposal to install larger natural gas lines in a Denver neighborhood over objections that it would increase methane consumption and emissions. (Denver Gazette)
Investigators say an explosion that injured a man and demolished a building in an Alaska city likely was caused by a natural gas leak. (Alaska Public Media)

UTILITIES: California utility ratepayer advocates criticize Pacific Gas & Electric for laying off thousands of vegetation management workers and linesmen, saying it will hamper wildfire hazard reduction efforts. (Grist)

Energy analysts say Western utilities and states are more amenable to joining regional transmission organizations after September’s heat wave-induced grid strain demonstrated the need for collaboration. (Utility Dive)
Heavy snowfall in central Oregon topples utility lines, leaving more than 11,000 households without power. (Central Oregon Daily) 

California rooftop solar companies predict regulators’ proposal to slash net metering rates will spur demand for residential battery storage. (Canary Media)
A New Mexico village approves a lease for a proposed community solar project. (Silver City Daily Press) 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Canada electric vehicle manufacturer begins production at its Mesa, Arizona, facility. (news release)  

California analysts say the state’s push for more electric vehicles is running up against a failure to plan for recycling or disposing of spent EV batteries. (Insider)
A California lithium iron battery startup plans to begin production at its San Francisco Bay Area factory in February. (Batteries News)

California researchers find wealthy suburban and exurban households have larger climate footprints than less affluent households in city centers. (New York Times)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee calls on state lawmakers to allocate $10 million to a proposed clean energy research center in the Tri-Cities area. (Spokesman-Review)

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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.