Daily Digest

Florida utilities’ solar amendment reaches 75% of required signatures

SOLAR:
• A proposed amendment to Florida’s Constitution backed by utilities reaches 75% of the required signatures to be considered for the November ballot but still needs court approval. (Saint Peters Blog)
Floridians for Solar Choice sue a signature-gathering firm for access to about 270,000 signatures. (Tampa Bay Times)
Google expands its service helping property owners assess their solar options to North Carolina. (Associated Press)
• Sun Edison and institutional investors acquire a 33% stake in a portion of Dominion Resources’ operating solar power plants. (The Wall Street Journal)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• Even as it challenges the Clean Power Plan, West Virginia is moving to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 37%.  (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)
• A judge sets July 19 for the start of a trial for a dispute over EPA estimates of job losses(Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Rocky Mountain Institute’s e-Lab Accelerator is calling on America’s most innovative teams at the forefront of the electricity transformation looking to take projects to the next level. See if your project is eligible for this invitation-only event April 24—27. ***

COAL:
120 coal-fired power plants are either closed, cancelled or set for closure by 2020 in six Southeast states. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
• The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. says it will pay retirement benefits of more than 2,700 Walter Energy employees in Alabama. (Tuscaloosa News)
• An environmental group opposes a delay in a Tennessee lawsuit seeking to clean up decades of the TVA’s coal ash pollution near Nashville. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
• Union officials say more than 500 coal miners could lose their jobs at five Murray Energy mines in West Virginia. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Automation is also responsible for declining coal job losses in Kentucky. (WKU Public Radio)
• A judge overrules environmental groups in approving a reclamation bond agreement between West Virginia and Alpha Natural Resources. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

CLIMATE:
• Environmental activists in North Carolina spell out how the Paris climate accord could them overcome in-state hurdles. (Coastal Review Online)
Municipalities in Florida are shouldering responsibility for mitigating climate change amid inaction by Gov. Rick Scott. (Tampa Bay Tribune)

COAL ASH:
• Rejecting staff findings, North Carolina classifies most coal ash ponds as low risks to drinking water and the environment. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• North Carolina’s draft timeline for closing coal ash sites disappoints some residents who live close by. (WSOC-TV)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Activists and oil drillers await the Obama administration’s decision whether to open the Atlantic Coast to lease sales from 2017 to 2022 and any restrictions. (The Hill)

OIL & GAS:
Flooding from Midwest rains threatens 13% of the nation’s oil refining capacity later this month in the Baton Rouge-New Orleans area. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
• The Cheniere liquified natural gas export terminal in Louisiana moves to fill its first cargo for export later this month. (Houston Business Journal)
• A West Virginia county on the Ohio River is expected to be the site of a new natural gas processing facility. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)
Tennessee sues Chevron and subsidiaries, including Texaco, to recover petroleum tank spill cleanup costs. (The Tennessean)

NUCLEAR:
• Duke Energy plans a major expansion of its 70-acre training center in North Carolina. (Triangle Business Journal)
• A judge rejects an environmental group’s bid to block use of additional water needed to cool reactors at Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point plant. (Palm Beach Post)
• A new consortium forms in Virginia to research small modular reactors. (Lynchburg News Advance)

BLANKENSHIP CONVICTION: A judge reduces the ex-Massey Energy CEO’s bond to $1 million and eases travel restrictions. (West Virginia Public Radio)

BIOENERGY: North Carolina awards $1 million in grants for 12 research projects to boost production in the state. (North Carolina Political News)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A Charlotte-based startup is moving to begin commercial production of faster, digital and programmable circuit breakers. (Charlotte Business Journal)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: To help maintain roads, a Tennessee lawmaker says electric and hybrid vehicle owners should pay more than the current $18.75 annual registration fee. (Nashville Public Radio)

PIPELINES:
• Opponents of the proposed Palmetto Pipeline slated to run from South Carolina along the Georgia coast to northeast Florida spotlight the frequency of pipeline leaks. (Savannah Morning News)
Virginia says expansion of an interstate natural gas pipeline appears “unlikely” to pose a threat to its environment. (NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index)

NORTH CAROLINA: Here are the top four energy issues facing the Tar Heel state in 2016. (Charlotte Observer)

COMMENTARY:
• Proposed pipelines transporting natural gas through or from West Virginia can help the state recover from coal’s decline. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
Solar investments by utilities are set to expand significantly throughout the Southeast in 2016; far less so for homeowners. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

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