U.S. Energy News

White House releases plan for undoing environmental regulations

REGULATION: The Trump administration releases its government-wide regulatory agenda, which outlines the withdrawal and reconsideration of hundreds of Obama-era environmental actions. (The Hill, ThinkProgress)

POLLUTION:
• Environmental groups file a lawsuit against the EPA to force Texas to toughen the air pollution permits it issues to oil refineries and power plants. (Texas Tribune)
• A new study by Louisiana State shows crude oil from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill is buried in wetland soil and remains nearly as toxic as the day of the disaster. (Times-Picayune)

COAL:
• Weak coal ash regulations give utilities the option to dump the toxic substance in landfills and old mines, and the problem is likely to get worse under the Trump administration. (Mother Jones)
• Water wells near a Tennessee coal plant don’t contain detectable levels of toxins, according to tests conducted by an independent lab. (Associated Press)
• In the second of a two-part series, a state regulator says he is “continually mystified” that Mississippi Power’s “clean coal” Kemper plant was allowed to run three years behind schedule and more than $4.5 billion over budget. (SNL Energy)

OIL & GAS:
Exxon is suing the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control for imposing a $2 million penalty on the company for allegedly violating sanctions on Russia by making deals with the CEO of a Russian oil company. (NPR)
• California’s governor asks the chairman of the state energy commission to plan for the permanent closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, where the largest methane leak in U.S. history occurred in 2015. (Greentech Media)
• North Carolina’s governor announces his opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic, citing economic and environmental concerns. (Associated Press)
Republicans will likely be divided over the government’s role in a $3.8 billion project in Louisiana that would take waste from oil refining and turn it into synthetic natural gas while capturing emissions. (Bloomberg)

PIPELINES:
• The Dakota Access pipeline developer is “entangled in another fight” as it builds a natural gas pipeline through Ohio. (Associated Press)
• A judge will allow oil industry trade groups to weigh in on the legal case involving the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

GRID: A weekly podcast explores the ethics and consequences of a leaked Department of Energy study on the reliability of the electric grid. (Greentech Media)

ADVOCACY: A national watchdog group files a lawsuit against Utah’s attorney general’s office for allegedly withholding public information about whether coal and electric utility companies paid large sums to have private conversations with the attorney general. (ThinkProgress)

CLIMATE:
• If the world doesn’t reduce carbon emissions soon, it could cost up to $6.7 trillion annually for 80 years to remove carbon dioxide from the air, according to research by a Columbia University professor. (Quartz)
• Lawsuits filed by three California municipalities demanding that fossil fuel companies pay for rising sea level damage could represent the latest tactic for holding individual companies accountable for their contribution to climate change. (Washington Post)

NUCLEAR: A South Carolina utility files a motion to throw out a complaint from environmental groups seeking stop construction on the Summer nuclear plant, saying those efforts are “premature.” (Post and Courier)

SOLAR: A 120-acre solar farm being built by Dominion Energy will provide power to the University of Virginia, likely by late 2018. (Daily Progress)

HYDRO: A Canadian tribe says a project that would bring Canadian hydro power to southern New England will harm a salmon fishery they depend on and threaten their traditional hunting grounds. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: A Washington D.C. appeals court unanimously approves the $6.8 billion merger of Pepco and Chicago-based Exelon. (Washington Business Journal)

COMMENTARY:
• A state policy expert at the nonprofit organization Ceres says North Carolina lawmakers have an opportunity to drive new investment through renewable energy options that businesses are seeking out. (Southeast Energy News)
• Instead of focusing on a costly cap-and-trade plan, California should be developing green technologies that can out-compete fossil fuels, says the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. (Los Angeles Times)
• The U.S. military is leading on energy independence, but we need greater levels of investment to build on that success, says the co-founder of CleanCapital. (Greentech Media)

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