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: Stanford University researchers find Permian Basin oil and gas facilities emit methane equivalent to 9% of the area’s overall natural gas production — a figure more than double previous estimates. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Environmentalists urge the U.S. Interior Department to block a ConocoPhillips Arctic drilling project, saying it doesn’t mesh with the Biden administration’s conservation goals. (E&E News, subscription)
Oil and gas executives tell Federal Reserve Bank surveyors that unprecedented supply chain constraints and workforce shortages hamper new drilling activity. (Reuters)
Environmental groups sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying oil and gas development is driving a California lizard to extinction. (news release)
Oil and gas firm Occidental says its planned Permian Basin direct air carbon capture project could cost $800 million or more. (S&P Global)

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TRANSPORTATION:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes an $11 billion gasoline-price relief package that would include a $400 direct payment per vehicle. (The Hill)
Korean company LG plans to build a $1.4 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Arizona to supply North American customers. (Reuters)

COAL: A former New Mexico regulator says the state’s 2019 Energy Transition Act allows coal plants to keep operating after utilities abandon them, even though it was enacted to hasten planned retirements. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

SOLAR:
• A Washington state public utility plans to use money generated by a proposed solar array to fund a utility bill assistance program. (Tribune)
• A Colorado county votes to approve a 175 MW solar plus 25 MW battery storage project. (PV Magazine)
Idaho Power and Micron partner to build a 40 MW solar facility near the tech company’s Boise headquarters. (news release)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• A Montana county’s commissioners vote to establish a program incentivizing energy efficiency and renewable power projects at businesses. (Great Falls Tribune)
Internal documents show a Portland, Oregon, government watchdog softened a highly critical clean energy fund audit after officials blasted the report for being short-sighted and racist. (Oregonian)

UTILITIES:
Oregon’s regulated gas utilities join a legal effort to overturn state emissions-reductions rules adopted in December. (Portland Business Journal, subscription)
• Federal regulators reject Pacific Gas & Electric’s requested return on transmission assets — a move observers say could influence similar state-level decisions. (Utility Dive) 

BIOFUELS: High wheat and corn prices delay Colorado farmers’ plans to transition food crops to biodiesel-producing soybeans. (Journal-Advocate)

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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.