Daily Digest

New offshore drilling safety rules rile the industry

OFFSHORE DRILLING: The Obama administration releases – and Louisiana Republicans protest – new safety rules aimed at preventing a repeat of the deadly 2010 BP Gulf oil platform explosion and resulting spill. (New York Times / New Orleans Times-Picayune)

ALSO:
• An independent safety board calls for regulators to verify offshore drillers are complying with safety rules. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• A coalition of marine biologists implores President Obama to block seismic testing saying air-gun blasts threaten the extinction of rare whales. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

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NUCLEAR: A former senior manager at the TVA swapped information with a top nuclear company in China in exchange for cash, according to unsealed court records in an espionage case. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

COAL:
• Coal mining is becoming a “zombie” industry, and its problems are becoming the public’s problems. (Slate)
• A river that flows from Virginia into eastern Kentucky known for attracting tourists faces growing pollution from mountaintop mining, advocacy groups say. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Tennessee’s coal communities make plans for federal assistance they hope is coming their way. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
• Louisiana re-issues a permit for a controversial coal export terminal. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

TECHNOLOGY: Business leaders in North Carolina are talking about how best to focus investor interest in clean energy and efficiency opportunities. (Charlotte Business Journal)

CLIMATE:
• A Florida Republican Congressman in a heated election battle says he’s “sick and tired” of his party’s denial of climate change and wants now to focus on solutions. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Environmental leaders in Florida urge the state’s Attorney General to stop playing politics and instead help prepare Florida for climate change’s impacts. (Creative Loafing)

WIND: The Obama administration moves to auction offshore wind leases along the North Carolina coast with a date to be determined. (ReNews)

COAL ASH: North Carolina moves to require “environmental justice” reviews of any landfills the state issues new permits for. (North Carolina Health News)

UTILITIES:
Georgia regulators approve Southern Company’s acquisition of AGL Resources. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• The Tennessee House moves toward authorizing Johnson City to create a separate authority for its utility systems. (Johnson City Press)
Duke Energy has donated $1.6 million thus far to help the Dan River region recover from the utility’s massive 2014 coal ash spill. (Charlotte Business Journal)

SOLAR: The U.S. Army and Alabama Power break ground on a large solar project set for completion by September. (The Anniston Star)

STORAGE: Berry College in Georgia focuses on storing solar-generated power in its bid to be carbon neutral by 2050. (Rome News-Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: An updated “Green Gauge” program by the Western North Carolina Green Building Council evaluates how “green” a home actually is. (Mountain Xpress)

HYDROPOWER: Duke Energy defends a plant on a river labeled this week as a one of the most endangered in the country. (Richmond County Daily Journal)

ALTERNATIVE FUELS: A Miami-based company unveils a large compressed natural gas fueling station in Orlando. (Orlando Business Journal)

OIL & GAS: Louisiana moves to deal with abandoned oil and natural gas wells. (Houma Today)

WEST VIRGINIA: Until elected officials and energy leaders accept that coal is not coming back, the path forward for the Mountain State remains cloudy. (SNL)

PIPELINES: The U.S. Forest Service grants surveyors for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline access to the George Washington National Forest. (The News Virginia)

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COMMENTARY:
• Leaders of the utility-backed solar amendment on Florida’s November ballot paint it as protection for consumers who don’t go solar. (Florida Politics)
• The deaths of so many coal miners in West Virginia should do more than raise concerns about their safety. (Religion Dispatches)
• The president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce challenges the progress and benefits of renewable sources of energy. (Daytona Times)

CORRECTION: An item in yesterday’s digest misstated the estimated cost of a planned Duke Energy nuclear plant. The correct estimate is $10 billion.

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