Maryland proposes ‘most stringent’ shale regulations in the country

REGULATION: The Maryland Department of the Environment proposes “the most stringent and protective environmental shale regulations in the country.” (Baltimore Sun)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Ten judges weigh the pros and cons of the Clean Power Plan during the first day of oral arguments in federal court, with their questions to lawyers largely split along party lines. (New York Times/The Hill)

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CLIMATE: Natural gas utilities in Washington state are challenging a clean air rule that seeks to combat climate change by requiring large industrial emitters to reduce carbon emissions over time. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• An oil services company agrees to pay $140 million for inflating its earnings by more than $900 million between 2007 and 2012 by using deceptive income tax reporting. (Reuters)
• After prolonged weak oil prices, the pace of new jobs and hiring in Texas “suggests that the worst of the energy crisis may be over,” according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economist.

Study: U.S. is falling short on 2025 emissions goals

CLIMATE: The U.S. is falling short on its climate goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 25 percent by 2025, partly due to methane, new research shows. (Climate Central/Washington Post) 

POLICY:
• Ohio Gov. John Kasich promises to veto any bill that threatens the state’s renewable energy standards, which are frozen until the end of the year. (Columbus Business First)
• A Florida congressman introduces a measure to prevent the federal government from requiring companies to put a price tag on the impacts of climate change. (New York Times)

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REGULATION: The head of the EPA’s air-quality and transportation office is known to make life painful for the auto industry, costing Chrysler $5 billion in fuel standard compliance costs. (Bloomberg)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• Texas’ Attorney General criticizes the Clean Power Plan one day before judges are slated to hear arguments on its legality, calling it an “unprecedented expansion of federal authority.” (Texas Tribune)
• By increasing energy efficiency and trading carbon credits with other states, Michigan could affordably comply with the Clean Power Plan, according to new reports.

Analysis: Transportation emissions to surpass power plants this year

EMISSIONS: Carbon emissions from transportation are expected to surpass emissions from power plants in the U.S. in 2016, according to a new analysis. (MIT Technology Review)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• Ten federal judges will hear oral arguments on the legality of the Clean Power Plan on Tuesday. (The Hill)
• Conflicting amendments on power plant regulation included in the Clean Air Act in 1990 could render the Clean Power Plan illegal. (New York Times)

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POLITICS: A California agency will investigate whether the state’s Democratic Party made “dirty energy contributions” by directing money from the oil and energy industry to Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014 reelection campaign.

Obama-appointed judge added to hear Clean Power Plan arguments

CLEAN POWER PLAN: The U.S. Court of Appeals expands the number of judges hearing next week’s Clean Power Plan arguments to 10, which could make it tougher for plan opponents but also raises the possibility of a 5-5 split. (Greenwire)

POLITICS:
• Conservative lawmakers speak out in favor of renewable energy at the second annual Conservative Clean Energy Summit, which attracted about 480 participants in Washington, D.C. (Southeast Energy News)
• Critics say Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s pledges to expand both the shale gas and coal industries are inherently contradictory. (Washington Post)

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UTILITIES:
• The governor of Puerto Rico declares a state of emergency as more than a million homes on the island are still without electricity due to a power plant fire. (Miami Herald)
• Regulators approve a $1.1 billion natural-gas-fired power plant in eastern Ohio, which will power about a million homes. (Columbus Business First)
• A U.S. Tax Court orders Chicago-based Exelon to pay up to $1.45 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest to the Internal Revenue Service.

SEC’s Exxon probe puts other companies on notice

OIL & GAS: A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into how Exxon Mobil values its assets is sending a message to other companies about possible scrutiny from regulators over their climate change impacts. (Wall Street Journal)

PIPELINES:
• Exxon Mobil agrees to a $12 million settlement for a pipeline break that spilled 63,000 gallons of oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota will borrow $6 million from a state-owned bank to cover costs related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, which have already totaled about $1.8 million for law enforcement and other related costs. (Associated Press)
• An Alabama pipeline break that caused a 12-day shutdown of the largest gasoline conduit in the U.S. has been repaired, but the impact on gasoline prices was significant. (Reuters)

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UTILITIES:
• A fire at a power plant in Puerto Rico leaves 3.5 million people without power.

Governors ask President Obama to expand wind and solar

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• All of the highly-anticipated legal arguments for and against the plan are to be boiled down to less than four hours when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit hears them next Tuesday. (Greenwire)
• Here is one primer on the pivotal arguments in court next week. (Utility Dive)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: 20 governors send an open letter to President Obama asking his administration to expand wind and solar energy production in their states. (CleanTechnica)

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CLIMATE:
• Hundreds of top scientists send an open letter opposing a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate-warming accord. (Reuters)
• In an effort to combat climate change, Boston University pledges “to avoid investing in coal and tar sands extractors.”

Apple and others join campaign to go carbon neutral

CLEAN ENERGY: Bank of America, Apple and Amalgamated Bank promise to become carbon neutral as part of a new membership in the RE100 campaign. (BusinessGreen/CNBC)

ALSO: An energy research “collaboratory” in Colorado has seen a massive return on investment and has been “extraordinarily productive: economically, scientifically and technologically,” according to a new report. (Denver Business Journal)

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CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz criticizes Congress for failing to implement sweeping climate legislation and hails the Clean Power Plan as a step in the right direction. (Huffington Post)
• North Carolina officials continue fighting against the Clean Power Plan, despite the state being on track to meet its 2030 targets. (Southeast Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Nevada regulators approve a deal to grandfather in favorable rates for 32,000 rooftop solar customers.

Most states fighting Clean Power Plan already on track to hit targets

CLIMATE: Most of the 27 states fighting the Clean Power Plan are already on track to meet their targets. (Reuters)

ALSO: Researchers say “it’s no longer appropriate” to say science can’t determine whether climate change is to blame for individual weather events. (InsideClimate News)

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GRID:
• A Wyoming data center will provide backup power to the state’s grid. (EnergyWire)
• Grid operators around the country are exploring a wide range of potential fixes to what’s known as the “duck curve” problem in which solar production and demand peaks don’t align. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES:
• A major Nevada casino chain expects to start seeing a payback after seven years after leaving its utility.

Washington places a CO2 cap on the state’s largest emitters

EMISSIONS: Washington state adopts a carbon cap requiring large industrial emitters to gradually reduce emissions over time. (Associated Press)

GRID: Tesla wins a contract to build a 20 megawatt Powerpack system in California that is slated to be the world’s largest lithium ion battery storage project. (L.A. Biz)

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OIL & GAS:
• New York’s Attorney General is looking into Exxon Mobil’s accounting practices, including why it hasn’t been recording the value of its assets. (Wall Street Journal)
• Members of a House science subcommittee struggle to agree on the amount of methane released from natural gas production during a hearing this week. (Morning Consult)
• Police arrest 13 activists at the U.S. Department of the Interior for protesting oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands.

Analysts: Residential solar growth will flatten in 2017

SOLAR: Residential solar is only expected to grow by about 0.3 percent next year thanks to utility pushback and shifting tax policies, according to a recent analysis. (Bloomberg)

CLIMATE:
• Low natural gas prices, federal tax breaks for renewables and the falling cost of wind and solar are the primary drivers of lower carbon emissions, experts say. (EnergyWire)
• California’s governor signs four bills into law, including funding of electric-car rebates and an increase of climate-related dollars going toward low-income communities. (Los Angeles Times)

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ADVOCACY: A new Minnesota advocacy group is working on behalf of ratepayers to limit price hikes and promote clean energy. (Midwest Energy News)

REGULATION:
• A new federal blueprint divides a 17,000-square-mile stretch of California desert into conservation areas and lands open to solar and wind farm development, drawing criticism from clean-energy producers who call it too limiting.