U.S. Energy News

Maryland governor reverses course, calls for statewide fracking ban

FRACKING: In a “stunning reversal,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan changes his stance on fracking and calls for a statewide ban because the “environmental risks of fracking simply outweigh any potential benefits.” (Bay Journal)

COAL:
• A judge approves coal giant Peabody Energy’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy after the company agrees to create a $43 million trust to manage environmental liabilities stemming from a dormant gold and metal mining subsidiary. (Reuters)
• Despite a small rebound in the coal industry, coal-fired power plants are continuing to shut down and job prospects are bleak. (Washington Post)
• Nearly 84 percent of North Carolina voters say Duke Energy, not customers, should pay to clean up its coal-ash ponds. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Critics of Nevada’s last remaining coal plant are using economic arguments in their battle to shut down the facility, saying “NV Energy has been squandering customers’ money on an outdated power source.” (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS: An appeals court refuses to grant an emergency order to stop oil from flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, meaning the project could be operational as early as Monday. (NBC)

POLLUTION: The idea that air pollution doesn’t kill people is gaining momentum within the Trump administration. (New Republic)

CLIMATE:
• Amid pressure from the U.S. and other nations, references to financing programs to combat climate change are dropped from a G20 joint statement. (Independent)
Global carbon emissions stay flat for a third year in a row, even as the world’s economy continues to grow, according to a new report from the International Energy Administration. (Washington Post)

POLICY: An executive order to roll back Obama-era climate policies could be signed by President Trump this week. (The Hill)

POLITICS: Senate Democrats send a letter asking EPA chief Scott Pruitt to “correct the record” on answers he gave during his confirmation hearings, referring primarily to his use of a personal email account to conduct business as Oklahoma attorney general. (The Hill)

SOLAR:
• A novel solar incentive program in Massachusetts is drawing criticism from both utilities and solar advocates. (Utility Dive)
• The first utility-scale solar plant approved for construction on Native American land goes online 30 miles north of Las Vegas. (Associated Press)
• California’s solar industry and investor-owned utilities are working on competing tariffs for homeowners and businesses that want to invest in solar and energy storage. (Greentech Media)

WIND:
• The Chamber of Commerce of Altus, Oklahoma, asks state lawmakers to give a military commission notice and siting approval for wind turbines proposed near military installations, saying “the presence of wind energy facilities inhibits critical radar capabilities.” (The Oklahoman)
• Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy unveils plans to greatly expand its Midwestern wind portfolio, including the largest wind project in South Dakota, citing customer savings of $4 billion over time. (Utility Dive, Argus Leader)
• The Spanish energy conglomerate Avangrid wins a $9 million bid to develop a wind farm off the coast of North Carolina. (News & Observer)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The Minnesota Legislature is considering two bills that could add an $85 to $125 annual fee on electric vehicles, following concerns over the loss of tax revenue from gas receipts. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUEL: Airplanes running on biofuels can reduce the emission of engine exhaust particles by up to 70 percent, according to a recent study. (Anthropocene)

COMMENTARY: Republican lawmakers in Appalachia are working to loosen mining safety laws, which would inevitably put coal miners in danger. (New York Times)

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