Daily Digest

Kentucky coal output hits six-decade low

COAL: Kentucky coal mines produced the smallest amount in 62 years in 2015 and in-state jobs declined 28% from 2014. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

ALSO:
Alabama-based Walter Energy reaches a deal to sell its remaining non-core assets, including a West Virginia mine, to a Virginia non-profit. (Birmingham Business Journal)
• Coal mines are supposed to increase sampling for the dust that causes breathing problems under a new federal rule now in effect. (Associated Press)
• Murray Energy in West Virginia broadens its attack on mining regulations, this time on coal dust rules. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)
• Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources says it has laid off 93 more workers in West Virginia. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: A poll by an environmental group shows strong support in North Carolina for the Clean Power Plan. (Coastal Review Online)

SOLAR:
• The second bulk-purchasing co-op in Georgia marks its first residential installation. (Athens Banner-Herald)
Duke Energy Renewables sets a pact to sell about one-third the output of a large North Carolina solar farm it developed to a defense contractor in Maryland. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Residents of Staunton, Virginia gather to consider how to improve their local solar options. (Staunton News Leader)

CLIMATE: Roanoke, Virginia exceeds two goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (The Roanoke Times)

UTILITIES:
• Georgia Power proposes a formula it wants regulators to adopt for comparing the costs and benefits of renewables to fossil fuels and nuclear. (Savannah Morning News)
• Dominion Resources agrees to buy a Utah-based natural gas distributor in the third such acquisition by a utility company in the last six months. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Residents and environmental activists protest Duke Energy’s plans for a new gas-fired power plant near Asheville, North Carolina. (The Blue Banner)

OVERSIGHT: The West Virginia House approves a bill that would prohibit the federal government from regulating coal mined and used in-state. (The Dominion Post / Energy Central)

NUCLEAR: The two reactors under construction in Georgia pass the halfway mark towards their planned full operation by 2020. (WJBF-TV)

COAL ASH:
Groundwater contamination declines significantly along a South Carolina river after coal ash was removed by a utility. (YubaNet / Southern Environmental Law Center)
• Duke Energy is now pumping water from a coal ash pond into a North Carolina lake that is the main source of drinking water for Charlotte. (Time Warner Cable News)
• A court fight looms over Dominion Virginia Power’s plan to flush coal ash water into a large creek near the Potomac River. (Inside NoVA)
Tennessee and the TVA agree to determine the extent that coal ash has contaminated the soil and water around its Gallatin power plant. (The Tennessean)
• An advisory board created by Duke Energy says nearly all of the company’s coal ash ponds in North Carolina can safely be capped in place.  (WUNC Public Radio)

OIL & GAS: Nearly 1,000 scientists are meeting this week in Tampa to dissect data now available about the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Tampa Bay Tribune)

PIPELINES: A county judge in Virginia allows builders of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to survey private land over the owners’ objections. (The News Virginian)

COMMENTARY:
• Despite the repeal of favorable policies, clean energy continues to grow in North Carolina. (Greensboro News & Record)
• Natural gas only make sense for generating electricity if methane leaks are kept very low. (Asheville Citizen-Times)

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