U.S. Energy News

Appeals court delays litigation over Obama-era climate rule

CLEAN POWER PLAN: A U.S. appeals court agrees to delay litigation over the Clean Power Plan for an additional 60 days, dealing a blow to environmentalists. (E&E News)

COAL:
• Coal generation will exceed natural gas generation in 2017 and 2018, according to a report from U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Utility Dive)
• Pennsylvania-based Talen Energy says it will keep running Montana’s Colstrip Generating Station, one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the Western U.S., despite a declaration last year that a new operator would be needed by mid-2018. (Associated Press)
• Scientists studying the aftermath of a coal-ash spill in North Carolina have discovered a byproduct of coal that may pose human health risks, making burned coal even more toxic than previously thought. (Bloomberg)
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice also says President Trump is “really interested” and “likes the idea” of giving federal money to power plants that burn coal from Appalachia. (Bloomberg)

OIL & GAS:
• The country’s capacity to export liquefied natural gas is set to increase nearly sevenfold over the next three years, according to a new report by the Energy Information Administration. (Houston Chronicle)
• The operators of three disposal wells in Oklahoma agree to stop pumping saltwater into the Arbuckle formation after a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in the area last week. (The Oklahoman)
• Three hundred new conservation jobs will be created in Gulf states using fines from the BP oil spill. (Associated Press)

POLLUTION: More than 740 gallons of oil have leaked from a hydroelectric generator unit into a river in Washington state over the last seven months. (Tri-City Herald)

PIPELINES:
• Pennsylvania officials and green groups reach an agreement with the developers of the Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline to allow horizontal directional drilling to continue. (Tribune-Review)
• A North Dakota judge accepts a plea agreement from former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, allowing her to avoid jail time for her involvement in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. (Associated Press)
• West Virginia environmental officials lift their order halting Rover Pipeline construction, saying violations have been corrected. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR:
• A weekly energy podcast discusses how to foster nuclear innovation and where natural gas fits into the equation. (Greentech Media)
• South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Santee Cooper say they have potential buyers for all or part of the state power company to help restart the abandoned Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)
• South Carolina lawmakers have formed committees to investigate the abandonment of the Summer nuclear project and how to prevent residents from paying billions more through their utility bills. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Solar energy advocates in Utah are opposing a utility company’s plan to raise rates for residential solar customers, saying they “would be some of the most regressive in the nation.” (Deseret News)

STORAGE: An Arizona utility decides it will be cheaper to use a grid-scale battery to power a small town northeast of Phoenix than to upgrade 20 miles of cables. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• California lawmakers are considering a bill that would give larger rebates to residents who buy electric cars or plug-in hybrids. (San Francisco Business Times)
• The Oklahoma Sierra Club is suing to strike down a bill that imposes a registration fee on electric and hybrid vehicles. (The Oklahoman)

UTILITIES: Southern Co. is being sued by a company engineer who says it may have violated federal laws about the safety and timeline for opening the Kemper “clean coal” plant in Mississippi. (Washington Examiner)

COMMENTARY:
• The Interior Department could cost taxpayers at least $60 million by repealing an Obama-era rule that required oil, gas and coal extractors to pay more in royalties to the federal government and states, says a writer for the Washington Post.
• An MIT researcher says “society will bear greater costs if power companies underinvest in non-carbon technologies than if they over-invest.” (The Conversation)
• The draft of a federal climate report that scientists shared with the New York Times this week was actually posted online in January, and there’s no indication that the Trump administration intends to change or suppress it, says a writer at Vox.

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