U.S. Energy News

15 states sue over the delay of an Obama-era smog rule

POLLUTION: Attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia are suing the Trump administration for delaying Obama-era rules that reduce emissions of smog-causing air pollutants. (Associated Press)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Sources say the EPA is preparing to replace the Clean Power Plan with a narrower rule that would center on increasing the thermal efficiency of individual coal plants as a means to reduce carbon emissions. (SNL)

EPA:
• A senior EPA official resigns from the agency over the Trump administration’s new policies, saying “there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities.” (Washington Post)
• The EPA’s integrity panel says Administrator Scott Pruitt did not violate its scientific integrity policy when he claimed carbon dioxide was not a “primary contributor” to global warming on a CNBC segment in March. (InsideClimate News)
• Advocates from Illinois were among those urging the EPA this week not to roll back tougher standards for water discharges from power plants. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE:
• Walmart says its Project Gigaton plan will significantly reduce greenhouse emissions by 2030. (Nashville Public Radio)
• The nine states that participate in the RGGI cap-and-trade program may decide to seek deeper emissions cuts. (InsideClimate News)

POLICY: After months of negotiations and surviving a contentious budget battle in the state legislature, the hard work of enacting Illinois’ comprehensive energy bill is underway. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• An Idaho electric utility asks regulators for permission to put solar customers into a different rate-paying class, saying they aren’t paying their fair share of fixed costs. (Public News Service)
• In preparation for this month’s solar eclipse, California regulators have launched a website where residents can pledge to reduce energy use from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (Grist)
• An Arizona electric utility is being investigated by the FBI for trying to block rooftop solar by supporting utility-friendly political candidates. (ThinkProgress)

RENEWABLES: A year-long grant program announced by the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office will give 11 projects a collective $7.8 million with the goal of connecting investors to new energy technologies. (Greentech Media)

STORAGE: Google’s research division is working on a novel system to store renewable energy using boiling, molten salt. (Silicon Valley Business Journal)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Utah groups announce a 300-mile electric vehicle corridor initiative. (Deseret News)

OIL & GAS:
• Fossil fuel executives send a letter asking the governor of Texas to reject a “bathroom bill” that would discriminate against transgendered individuals, saying it would hurt the state’s economic growth and ability to create new jobs. (ThinkProgress)
• The owner of a Colorado ranch is suing an oil and gas company over a 2016 pipeline leak that allegedly contaminated the property and prevented a planned $5 million sale. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: The federal Department of Transportation is giving Maine more than $300,000 to keep its pipelines safe and help prevent accidents. (Portland Press Herald)

NUCLEAR:
• SCANA officials told South Carolina regulators the company plans to recover nearly $5 billion from customers over 60 years for its abandoned Summer nuclear project. (Bloomberg)
• SCANA looked for other partners for its Summer plant before stopping construction, but couldn’t find any takers. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Lawmakers are calling for an overhaul in how utility projects are reviewed following the abandonment of construction at the Summer nuclear plant. (Associated Press)
• An analysis says South Carolina’s failing nuclear power project – and overall industry decline – is detrimental to the fight against climate change and a boost for coal. (Bloomberg)
• Georgia is now the only state in the country with a nuclear plant under construction and the fate of nuclear power may hinge on it. (Bloomberg)

UTILITIES:
• A former FERC commissioner says the collapse of the independent power producer (IPP) model could return states to a bilateral contracting model more familiar 20 years ago. (Utility Dive)
• A Michigan utility is seeking permission to build a $1 billion natural gas-fired power plant northeast of Detroit as part of its shift away from coal-fired generation. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• Advanced nuclear technologies are garnering support from both Democrats and Republicans, says the vice president for a think tank’s clean energy program. (Greentech Media)
• The definition of “alternative energy” has shifted dramatically over the last decade thanks to concerned citizens, government officials and businesses, says a former cleantech executive. (World Positive)

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