Daily Digest

Conservative groups battle over solar in Florida

SOLAR:
• Conservative groups battle over solar in Florida. (Huffington Post)
• The solar market is growing, albeit slowly, in Virginia. (WVTF Public Radio)
• North Carolina was second only to California in new solar installations last year, according to a new report. (Charlotte Business Journal)

COAL ASH: North Carolina officials say they have hit Duke Energy with the largest environmental fine in state history of $25.1 million for groundwater contamination from coal ash. (New York Times)

EMISSIONS: Residents and environmental groups in northwest Louisiana are pushing state and federal regulators to crack down on air emissions from the many refineries and industrial plants in the region. (The Shreveport Times)

COAL:
 A new book explores the cost of clean coal in Mississippi. (Grist)
• An Alabama utility says federal emission rules are prompting one of its power plants to switch from coal to gas. (The Glasden Times)
• Retired Kentucky coal mine inspector Kelly Shortridge is to enter a guilty plea amid charges he funneled $46,343 to state Rep. W. Keith Hall to ignore repeated safety and environmental violations at coal mines. (Lexington Herald Leader)

CLIMATE:
Professors at Georgia Tech and University of Alabama push back against efforts to identify climate skeptics’ funding relationships. (Nashville Public Radio)
Not just in Florida, North Carolina officials also have banned state employees from considering sea level science. (Grist)

UTILITIES:
• With savings on natural gas costs below projections, typical Florida Power & Light customers should see their electric bills decrease by an average $3, or about 3% in May.  (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
• American Electric Power Company’s Kingsport Power Co. unit has filed documents with Tennessee regulators seeking a 2.4% rate hike to recover expenses from winter storms in 2009 and 2013. (Kingsport Times-News)
• Members of the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative in central Virginia have begun a petition drive to find another organization to supply and deliver its electricity. (WHSV-TV)
Appalachian Power customers in Virginia will soon see a 4 percent decrease in their power bills. (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
• Duke Energy is settling a lawsuit that claimed shareholders lost millions of dollars when it surprised investors by ousting its CEO hours after completing a long-anticipated buyout of its smaller neighbor. (Associated Press)
• North Carolina utilities submit their first smart grid technology plans. (NC Sustainable Energy Association blog)

OIL & GAS: Four crude oil train accidents in West Virginia and other rail lines in the U.S. and Canada over the past four weeks are underscoring risks of disastrous accidents in populated areas. (Associated Press)

SUSTAINABILITY:
Seven local governments are being recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission for leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta. (Atlanta INtown)
Bike sharing is coming to Atlanta. (WABE radio, Atlanta)

ENERGY POLICY: Freshman Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia called greenhouse gas standards proposed by the U.S. EPA misguided and asserted the country should find ways to make better use of its fossil fuels. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

COMMENTARY:
Columnist Ron Littlepage reflects on “a rather large gulf” between what Republican Gov. Rick Scott “says and what the truth is.” (The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville)
Virginia Sierra Club Chapter President Glen Besa “connects the dots” between the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil and voting rights march 50 years ago and environmental advocacy.

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