Daily Digest

Senate energy bill includes steps to enable more renewables

CONGRESS:
Senate energy leaders unveiled a bipartisan package that, among many features, includes steps to better equip the power grid to enable more renewable energy and clarify limits on sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (The Hill)
• Bills by the House and Senate to fund highway projects with sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana illustrate how the U.S. energy boom is easing fears of scarcity. (Politico)

COAL ASH:
• The House passed a bill that would rescind federal rules for coal ash disposal and the White House has threatened to veto it. (Associated Press)
• The House rejected a North Carolina congresswoman’s bid to require tests of drinking water supplies near coal ash sites. (Greensboro News & Record)
• Environmental groups are asking a judge to drop a lawsuit against Duke Energy over coal ash management at four sites in North Carolina while litigation at seven other sites continues. (Winston-Salem Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Large power users in Florida are seeking to opt-out of utility fees claiming they want to create their own efficiency programs. (Cox Media Group)

SOLAR: Proposed amendments to Florida’s constitution cloud the real issues about solar energy in the Sunshine State. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal)

PIPELINES: New pipelines can close the divide between the haves and have-nots of America’s shale revolution by moving supplies from tight-rock oil and gas deposits to southern states. (Bloomberg)

FRACKING: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants the state’s water commission to assess whether existing state rules adequately protect drinking water supplies near fracking sites. (WVTF)

OIL TRAINS: Kentucky is among several states that are not receiving notifications of oil shipments via rail that are required by federal regulations. (McClatchy)

CLEAN WATER: North Carolina has joined what is now an 11-state suit lead by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey challenging the Clean Water Act as violating the U.S. Constitution. (Greenwire)

COAL:
• Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray blasts President Obama’s clean energy push as a “power grab” and asserts the coal industry’s vulnerability is “extremely dangerous.” (Wheeling News-Register)
• Federal regulators cited Murray Energy for the death of a worker at West Virginia mine it operates. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

UTILITIES:
• Duke Energy’s new president in North Carolina is a lawyer and has served as its principal in-state lobbyist. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Southern Co. and its partners awarded $2.3 million in grants to restore 83 acres of stream banks in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

OIL & GAS: Oil and gas jobs in Louisiana continue to plummet, sinking to their lowest level in almost a decade. (The Advertiser)

BP SETTLEMENT: Manatee County, Florida officials are “perplexed” at why their $1.4 million settlement is one-tenth the amount of a settlement paid to neighboring Sarasota County. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

COMMENTARY:
Give Floridians the option to choose how their power is generated. (Palm Beach Post)
Expiration of the federal investment tax credit after 2016 threatens North Carolina’s robust solar industry and the good-paying jobs it is creating. (The Jefferson Post)
• There are several reasons to question the assertion that utility-scale solar in North Carolina, Georgia and elsewhere is better than distributed solar. (Greentech Media)
• Here are five telltale techniques of climate change denial. (CNN)

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