OIL & GAS: Texas regulators approve new rules requiring natural gas companies to winterize their equipment or face fines that range between $5,000 and $1 million. (Texas Tribune)

ALSO:
• Federal officials grant $560 million to 24 states to begin cleaning up high-priority abandoned oil and gas wells as part of a larger effort to plug abandoned wells around the U.S. (Associated Press)
• An oil shipping company says it will expand its pipeline network with a new pipeline and storage facilities in the Permian Basin. (S&P Global)

COAL ASH: Federal rules that emerged following a 2008 coal ash spill in Tennessee require either secure disposal of the toxic substance, or recycling it into concrete and other materials as a “beneficial use” that many stakeholders prefer. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR: Researchers at the University of Virginia find that only a quarter of localities in the state have ordinances addressing how solar farms are decommissioned. (Virginia Mercury)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• West Virginia officials dedicate a planned factory that will build 40 to 50 electric school buses per month. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Construction crews break ground on a planned $2 billion electric vehicle battery factory in Kentucky. (Spectrum News, WDRB)
• Charleston, South Carolina, develops a plan to deploy electric vehicle chargers. (WCSC)
• A Tennessee power company announces the installation of its first electric vehicle fast charger. (Chattanoogan)

UTILITIES: As Memphis, Tennessee, considers breaking with the Tennessee Valley Authority, an expert says the decision could result in rate increases for other TVA customers. (WPLN)

COAL: Appalachian Power sues one of its coal suppliers for failing to meet its contract last year, which contributed to the utility idling three West Virginia coal-fired power plants for lack of fuel. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

GRID: A judge rules against a Texas law that limits development of interstate electric transmission projects to utilities already operating in the state, finding it interferes with interstate commerce protections. (Bloomberg Law, subscription)

EFFICIENCY: Entergy awards a Texas city $14,400 for replacing 104 fluorescent lights in its civic center with 55 modern LED lights. (Beaumont Enterprise)

NUCLEAR: The Tennessee Valley Authority expects to notify federal regulators of its plans to seek a license renewal for an Alabama nuclear plant. (Times Daily)

POLITICS: Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams releases an environmental protection and climate plan that prioritizes climate resilience, creating green energy jobs, and reducing energy costs. (Gwinnett Daily Post)

COMMENTARY:
• South Carolina should prioritize energy efficiency investments to benefit overburdened ratepayers amid climbing power rates, writes the director of a sustainability group. (Post and Courier)
• An anti-Mountain Valley Pipeline activist criticizes U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia for his comments that permitting takes too long for fossil fuel and renewable energy projects. (Roanoke Times)
• An editorial board predicts natural gas will dominate power production in Appalachia for the foreseeable future because nuclear power is still too far off, no one is building new coal plants, and utility-scale solar is still rare in the region. (Williamson Daily News)

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Mason Adams

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.