Senate Democrats prepared to fight Trump’s EPA pick

POLITICS: Senate Democrats are ready to fight Donald Trump’s pick for EPA administrator, calling the decision “a full-fledged environmental emergency.” (CNN/Huffington Post)

ALSO:
• A look at Donald Trump’s growing team of climate deniers. (Grist)
• Republican leaders and fossil fuel industry executives lay out an agenda to roll back environmental regulations and increase fossil fuel production, saying “we’re winning this thing, very clearly.” (ThinkProgress)
• Experts say Donald Trump’s pick for EPA chief will have little effect on reviving the coal industry. (New York Times)

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Trump picks a fossil fuel ally, climate change denier to head EPA

POLITICS: Donald Trump chooses Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier and ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the EPA. (Los Angeles Times)

COAL:
• Charlotte-based Duke Energy could spend nearly $30 million on new water supplies for about 886 North Carolina residents who rely on wells near the company’s coal ash ponds. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• The Interior Department designates nearly 75,000 acres in east Tennessee as unsuitable for mountaintop coal mining. (Associated Press)
• People in West Virginia’s coal country say they are “euphoric” and “thrilled” about Donald Trump’s upcoming presidency. (Washington Post)

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Developer cancels plans for Maine’s largest wind farm

WIND:
• A wind power developer cancels plans for a 119-turbine farm that would have been the largest in Maine. (Portland Press Herald)
• The country’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island will soon be operational, in spite of a damaged turbine. (Grist)

CLIMATE:
• The candidates Donald Trump is considering for his new administration are an indication that he’s not changing his views on climate change. (Washington Post)
• Companies and trade associations need to put pressure on the government to support greenhouse gas emissions reductions, according to a new report. (E&E News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21stCentury connected city.

DOE approves line to import hydropower from Canada

GRID: A 154-mile transmission line that would bring hydropower from Canada to New England wins a key permit from the U.S. Department of Energy, clearing the way for construction as early as next year. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• Google says it will source all of its electricity from renewables starting next year. (Greentech Media)
• The transition away from fossil fuels is “irrevocably underway” in the U.S., according to a new report. (E&E News)

CLIMATE:
• General Electric says exiting the Paris climate deal would have little impact on demand for power plant upgrades because utilities save money by making the improvements. (Reuters)
• Former vice president Al Gore meets with Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump to discuss climate change.

U.S. oil exports have increased more than 1,000 percent since 2009

PIPELINES: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denies a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross under a section of the Missouri River, handing “a smashing victory” to thousands of indigenous activists. (Los Angeles Times/Huffington Post)

ALSO:
• Sen. Bernie Sanders praises President Obama for “listening to the Native American people” and blocking construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. (The Hill)
• The company behind the project says the Obama administration “has abandoned the rule of law” with the decision. (The Verge)
• Military veterans join pipeline protesters in North Dakota. (Reuters)
• North Dakota emergency officials pledge to help protesters who are in danger of freezing, saying “we are going to be humane.” (The Hill)
• Landowners in North Carolina are fighting an eminent domain battle to keep a pipeline from crossing their properties.

Poll: 75 percent of Trump voters support clean energy

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Three out of four Trump voters support “action to accelerate the deployment and use of clean energy,” according to a recent survey conducted by a Republican polling firm. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• SolarCity announces plans to expand into Florida’s residential solar market. (Associated Press)
• The governor of Oregon hasn’t budgeted for an extension of the state’s Residential Energy Tax Credit, which is slated to expire at the end of next year. (Portland Business Journal)
• Florida’s four largest utilities are working aggressively to block solar policies, according to a new report. (Tampa Bay Times)

NUCLEAR: Illinois lawmakers approve a multibillion-dollar subsidy to keep two unprofitable nuclear plants operating for the next 13 years.

EPA plans to keep fuel efficiency standards

TRANSPORTATION: The EPA says it plans to keep strict fuel economy standards in place, finding automakers are already on track to meet them. (Washington Post)

FRACKING: More questions are raised about the U.S. EPA’s controlling the message of a controversial study that, when released, said fracking had not “led to widespread, systemic impacts.” (American Public Media)

PIPELINES:
• A new map shows the locations of over 9,000 oil and gas pipeline accidents between 1986 and 2016. (CityLab)
• North Dakota’s Republican senator says the Obama administration has “prolonged and intensified” protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline by refusing to approve the project. (Huffington Post)
• North Dakota’s Emergency Commission votes to borrow an additional $7 million to cover the cost of policing protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline through December. (Associated Press)
• Activists say they are planning to “double down on the state and local level” to combat pipeline development.

Texas breaks daily record for wind energy

WIND: Texas wind farms generated more than 15,000 megawatts of electricity on Sunday, breaking the state’s daily record for wind power. (Greentech Media)

POLITICS: Donald Trump’s energy policy advisers are climate change skeptics with ties to the oil industry. (Washington Post)

SOLAR: Power purchase agreements with shorter terms and increasingly low prices make developers overly dependent on the residual value of solar projects. (PV Magazine)

NUCLEAR: California’s largest utility agrees to pay $85 million to provide economic support to communities affected by the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: California-based Lucid Motors plans to build a $700 million plant in Arizona to manufacture electric luxury sedans.

Trump meets with contenders to lead EPA

EPA: Two of Donald Trump’s possible picks to lead the EPA would likely slash environmental regulations and reshape the agency. (Greenwire)

COAL: 
• Experts say Donald Trump is unlikely to bring back coal jobs, but Appalachians remain hopeful. (New York Times)
• West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection is suing a major coal company for concealing $100 million in outstanding debts and obligations when it filed for bankruptcy. (Vox)
• A bill to protect retired coal miners’ healthcare and pension benefits would save lives and money, according to a new study. (Associated Press)
• If Donald Trump repeals Obamacare, disabled coal miners could lose their black lung benefits.

Federal courts may provide firewall against environmental rollbacks

POLICY: Green groups eye federal courts to try to block expected pullbacks of environmental initiatives by President-elect Trump. (The Hill)

COAL:
• The CEO of Michigan’s largest electric utility says the company is committed to phasing out its coal-fired plants “regardless of what Trump may or may not do with the Clean Power Plan.” (MLive)
• State-level actions will decide the fate of clean energy in the Rust Belt, which relies heavily on coal to meet its electricity needs. (ClimateWire)
• Over 20 senators write a letter asking Congress to pass a bill that protects the pensions and healthcare benefits of retired coal miners. (The Hill)

OIL & GAS:
• Environmentalists worry about potential offshore drilling in the Atlantic under a Trump presidency.