U.S. Energy News

Federal judge says delay of Obama-era coal rule was illegal

NOTE TO READERSU.S. Energy News is taking a break for Labor Day. The email digest will return on Tuesday, September 5.

COAL:
• A judge says the Trump administration violated the law by delaying an Obama-era rule intended to increase royalty payments to taxpayers from fossil fuel extraction on federal lands. (Associated Press)
• Vice President Mike Pence tells attendees at a chamber of commerce event in West Virginia that “the war on coal is over” and the fuel is up 19 percent over last year. (Herald-Dispatch)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: A group of 14 attorneys general and local officials send a letter urging the EPA to retract a “legally incorrect” letter that told states they don’t have to comply with the Clean Power Plan. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
• New York environmental regulators deny a key permit for a $900 million natural gas power plant, saying the environmental review of a 7.8-mile pipeline leading to the plant was inadequate. (Associated Press)
• To keep gasoline prices stable following Hurricane Harvey, Energy Secretary Rick Perry orders the release of 500,000 barrels of crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (Associated Press)
• The Port of Houston, which ships more gasoline than any other U.S. port, is expected to reopen on Friday after a week-long closure. (Quartz)
• Flooding in Texas topples two oil storage tanks and spills about 30,000 gallons of crude oil. (Fox)

PIPELINES:
• Damage from Hurricane Harvey has forced the main pipeline carrying fuel from Texas to the East Coast to close, but service is expected to return in a few days (NBC News, AL.com)
• Pennsylvania regulators approve key water-crossing permits for a contested pipeline that’s set to carry natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to Southern states. (Associated Press)
• Activists plan more protests against Enbridge oil pipelines through the Upper Midwest. (Associated Press)

TECHNOLOGY: A demonstration natural gas plant in Texas could be a “game changer” if it meets its goal of capturing all of the carbon dioxide it produces without high costs. (MIT Technology Review)

SOLAR:
• While some utilities are actively opposing rooftop solar, others are adapting to a renewable energy model and embracing distributed energy resources. (Yale Environment 360)
• Tesla starts producing its solar roof tiles at a 1.2 million-square-foot factory in Buffalo, New York. (Associated Press)

CLEAN ENERGY: A new poll shows strong support among Ohio voters for more use of clean energy there, even in Southeast Ohio where there is the most coal and gas development. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• California lawmakers will vote today on a $3 billion plan to increase electric vehicle rebates from $2,500 per car to as much as $10,000 per car. (Los Angeles Times)
• EV fast chargers put a strain on the electric grid, but a California start-up is solving the problem by developing battery-backed fast chargers. (Greentech Media)

CLIMATE: Investing giant Vanguard votes to require ExxonMobil to include more detailed assessments of how climate policies impact its profits. (CNBC)

NUCLEAR:
• SCANA Corp. may have misled South Carolina regulators about the existence of a secretive report that detailed construction failures at the Summer nuclear project months before the plan was abandoned. (Post and Courier)
• Southern Co. publicly confirms that it will seek to complete the Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia, which is the only nuclear unit still under construction nationwide. (Reuters, New York Times)
• South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says the state is not willing to hold onto Santee Cooper’s $8 billion debt as part of a deal to sell the state-owned utility following the abandonment of the Summer nuclear project. (Post and Courier)

COMMENTARY:
• A Vox writer highlights two new reports that suggest forecasts are still vastly underestimating the potential for wind and solar in the coming years.
• A new ruling that gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the power to regulate carbon emissions will make the agency more subjective and less effective, says the vice chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission. (Utility Dive)
• An environmental attorney explains how utilities can help state regulators shape how coal ash is regulated. (Utility Dive)

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