Western Energy News is one of five regional services published by the Energy News Network. Today’s edition was compiled by Jonathan Thompson.

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OIL & GAS: The Permian Basin is poised to become the world’s center of oil production growth due to its vast untapped reserves, existing infrastructure and low breakeven costs. (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
Valero Energy agrees to pay $345,000 for air quality violations at its northern California refinery in 2017. (Vallejo Sun)
Alaska regulators say snow damage at a major oil storage facility in Valdez resulted in air permit-violating petroleum vapor releases. (Anchorage Daily News)
ExxonMobil considers establishing a cryptocurrency mining project in Alaska oil fields that would be powered with methane that otherwise would be flared. (Bloomberg)

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BIOFUELS: A northern California county approves an oil company’s request to upgrade its petroleum refinery to process vegetable oil into biodiesel. (Mercury News)

LITHIUM: A company looking to mine a large Oregon lithium deposit welcomes reports that the Biden administration is preparing to invoke the Defense Production Act to expedite electric vehicle battery production. (OPB, The Intercept)

STORAGE: California renewable energy industry officials say grid interconnection delays are hampering battery storage deployment in the state. (Energy Storage News)

UTILITIES:
A California auditor finds state regulators approved utilities’ wildfire prevention plans even when they were “seriously deficient.” (CalMatters)
Public Service Company of New Mexico says regulators failed to abide by the state’s Energy Transition Act when denying the utility’s bid to abandon its share of the Four Corners coal power plant last year. (Santa Fe New Mexican) 
Hearings begin in a Montana environmental group’s lawsuit challenging the state’s pre-approval law as it relates to a proposed NorthWestern Energy gas plant. (Missoulian)
A corporate watchdog finds California utilities have paid more in penalties for consumer protection and safety violations than utilities in any other state. (news release) 

COAL: Environmental groups and U.S. EPA officials say Wyoming’s plan to comply with federal haze rules is inadequate. (Casper Star-Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: Several Colorado mountain towns begin construction on net-zero-energy affordable housing projects. (Colorado Sun) 

SOLAR: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a climate change policy champion, installs solar panels at his home. (Kitsap Sun)

NUCLEAR:
An ocean cooling system at California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant has warmed water in a nearby cove, killing off native cold-water fish and otherwise altering the marine ecosystem. (Fresno Bee)
Silicon Valley venture capitalists and tech giants tout nuclear power to cut carbon emissions and wean the world off Russian natural gas. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY: A ban on Russian uranium imports would spur domestic production, strengthen national security and cut off funding to Putin’s war machine, a U.S. Senator from Wyoming argues. (Casper Star-Tribune)

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Jonathan P. Thompson

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.