U.S. Energy News

Court order not expected to derail Trump’s EPA nominee

EPA:
• U.S. senators are expected to vote today on whether to approve President Trump’s pick to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, who has been ordered to turn over documents related to his communication with coal, oil and gas corporations. (Reuters, ThinkProgress)
• Nearly 800 former EPA officials send a letter urging the Senate to reject Pruitt, calling him an “endangerment to our health and environment,” while current employees are launching their own fight against his appointment. (Huffington Post, New York Times)

COAL: President Trump signs legislation to scrap a rule that prevents coal mining waste from being dumped into waterways. (The Hill)

COAL ASH: North Carolina residents whose water was contaminated by cancerous chemicals that leaked from Duke Energy’s coal ash pits are hesitant to accept a cash offer from the utility in exchange for legal rights. (Southeast Energy News)

OIL & GAS:
• The Colorado House rejects a routine budget bill in an apparent protest against the state’s attorney general, who filed a lawsuit against Boulder County regarding its moratorium on oil and gas drilling. (Denver Post)
Demand for frac sand has surged in recent weeks as shale drillers anticipate “the next wave” of production. (Reuters)

PIPELINES:
• An underwater pipeline four miles offshore in Alaska’s Cook Inlet is leaking natural gas. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota’s governor orders Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to evacuate their demonstration camp, reaffirming a Feb. 22 deadline set by the Army Corps of Engineers. (Reuters)
• The North Dakota Senate approves three bills that take aim at protesters in the state, including a measure that makes it illegal for adults to wear masks. (Associated Press)
• Consolidated Edison will pay over $150 million to New York State over a 2014 natural gas explosion in Manhattan that killed eight people and displaced over 100 families. (Reuters)
• The developer behind the Keystone XL oil pipeline submits an application to build the line through Nebraska. (The Hill)

SOLAR:
• An Indiana Senate committee approves a bill to eliminate much of the financial incentive for installing solar panels in the state. (Associated Press)
• A Texas public utility company files a proposal asking state regulators to raise rates so it can regain $42.5 million spent on system upgrades and new generation – a move that could prove especially costly to solar customers. (Utility Dive)
• California’s three biggest utilities are pushing to shift the schedule of on-peak and off-peak hours to later in the day, which would hurt the value of net-metered solar. (Greentech Media)
• Policy debates over solar compensation and rates are expected to continue this year, with analysts predicting more tweaks to net-metering policies and a greater collaboration between the power sector and solar advocates. (Utility Dive)

WIND: A 47-turbine wind farm in Mexico is shipping energy across the border to power 65,000 homes in California. (Politico) 

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• Massachusetts lawmakers propose a bill that requires the state to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. (E360)
• A Nevada lawmaker introduces a bill to double the state’s renewable energy mandate from 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 to 50 percent. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Michigan utility withdraws plans for a $15 million statewide electric vehicle charging network after facing broad criticism over how the plan would be funded. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE: The broad consensus among corporations and GOP moderates is that abandoning the Paris climate agreement won’t save trillions of dollars, as President Trump has said, but will hurt the economy. (Los Angeles Times)

BIOMASS: An Alabama-based company signs a deal to buy a decommissioned biomass power plant in Maine, creating an estimated 300 jobs. (Portland Press Herald)

COMMENTARY:
• A bill to terminate the EPA is “stunt legislation” that will not pass, but Republicans will wage war on the agency through other means, says an associate editor at The Atlantic.
• A Vox columnist highlights increasing support for clean energy among Republican governors. 

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