West Virginia officials order halt to Rover Pipeline construction

PIPELINES: West Virginia’s DEP has ordered construction on the Rover Pipeline to stop in certain areas, noting water pollution violations caused by construction. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ALSO:
• Following the favorable assessment from FERC last week, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could begin construction in West Virginia this fall. (MetroNews)
• A North Carolina State University professor and Lumbee tribe member says the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would disproportionately impact Native Americans in the state. (WUNC)

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REGULATIONS: EPA head Scott Pruitt met with South Carolina utility companies and others to discuss repealing and replacing the Clean Water Rule. (Post and Courier)

UTILITIES:
• Duke Energy plans to file a rate-increase request on or around Aug.

Appalachian states seek Trump’s help on natural gas plan

NATURAL GAS: A bipartisan group of Appalachian lawmakers urge the Trump administration to preserve a loan program they say is needed for a proposed $10 billion natural gas storage hub. (Bloomberg)

POLITICS:
• The development of North Carolina’s energy bill highlights the political challenges facing the emerging conservative climate movement. (InsideClimate News)
• President Donald Trump spoke at the national Boy Scouts jamboree in West Virginia on Monday, saying his administration is on track to make the U.S. an energy exporter, though a West Virginia University report shows the rebound is mostly due to global demand. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

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COAL ASH: The Sierra Club said Georgia Power’s plans to close 29 ponds that hold coal ash by dumping wastewater into the state’s rivers and lakes violates the federal clean water law and is planning a lawsuit against the utility. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NUCLEAR: There were warnings about the potential for delays and cost increases prior to the start of the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, transcripts from hearings show.

FERC environmental review favors Atlantic Coast Pipeline development

PIPELINES: FERC’s final environmental review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline found adverse says if Dominion Energy uses proper mitigation techniques, most of the project’s environmental impacts could be reduced to “less-than-significant” levels. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• An area that was cherished by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s father is a key battleground in the fight over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and opponents see the governor as their last “line of defense.” (Southeast Energy News)
• Meanwhile, one environmental group says FERC’s statement on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline “solely serves the private corporations and industries that fund it” and the Sierra Club says the agency is “nothing more than a rubber stamp for fracked gas pipelines.” (Blue Virginia, EcoWatch)
• Supporters of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are pleased with FERC’s final environmental assessment. (WRAL)
• A group of opponents in Virginia will continue fighting the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project following FERC’s assessment. (NBC 29)

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NUCLEAR:
• A bankruptcy judge approved Southern Co.’s takeover of its Summer nuclear plant expansion in Georgia.

Tests find no detectable levels of coal ash toxins in Memphis drinking water

COAL ASH: Memphis, Light, Gas & Water said Thursday that tests conducted by an independent lab on water wells near one of its coal plants came up below detected limits for toxins. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• Citing environmental concerns, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced his opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic. (Blue Ridge Public Radio)
• Republicans will likely be divided over the government’s role in a $3.8 billion Lake Charles, Louisiana, project that would take waste from oil refining and turn it into synthetic natural gas while capturing emissions. (Bloomberg)
• A new study by Louisiana State shows crude oil from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill is buried in wetland soil and is almost as toxic as the day of the disaster. (Times-Picayune)

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COAL: In the second of a two-part series, a state regulator says he is “continually mystified” that Mississippi Power’s “clean coal” Kemper plant was allowed to become three years behind schedule and more than $4.5 billion over budget.

Reports: South Carolina nuclear plant means excess power, higher bills

NUCLEAR: Reports show if South Carolina’s Summer nuclear plant expansion is completed, state utility Santee Cooper will have far more energy capacity than it needs and customers will likely see a spike in power bills should the project continue. (The State)

COAL:
• Officials worked to address the Kemper “clean coal” plant’s delays and overruns, but in the end had to “draw a line in the sand” and terminate the project. (SNL Energy)
• The Sierra Club wants federal energy regulators to reconsider an emergency order that would allow a Dominion Energy plant in Virginia that violates air quality standards to operate if necessary to meet summer demand. (Daily Press)
• U.S. coal exports were higher in early 2017 as a result of increased demand in Asia and Europe. (Associated Press)
• President Trump’s promises to revive the coal industry is keeping miners from changing careers.

Debate grows over clean energy options in Virginia

UTILITIES: An official’s recommendation to reject a proposed 100 percent renewable energy offering by Appalachian Power Co. is heightening the debate over clean energy options in Virginia. (Southeast Energy News)

SOLAR:
• An ordinance that requires new houses in South Miami to have solar panels was approved on Tuesday. (Miami Herald)
• A freestanding machine that fans out a series of solar panels and then tilts to follow the sun called the Smartflower is being installed at Florida State University. (WCTV)

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NUCLEAR:
• A report from environmental groups released Tuesday urges South Carolina regulators to stop construction at the Summer nuclear plant, which could save utility customers as much as $10 billion.

Appalachia’s proposed pipeline projects could over-supply, cause more environmental harm

PIPELINES: Energy industry consultants say there isn’t enough U.S. demand for all the natural gas that would come from pipeline projects in Appalachia, which would extend the country’s fossil fuel habit by half a century. (NPR)

ALSO:
• Virginia landowners could still block pipeline construction even though the state’s Supreme Court upheld a law that allows natural gas companies to survey private property without the owner’s permission. (WVTF)
• Two public hearings on the effects on water quality from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are scheduled this week, just ahead of FERC issuing its final environmental impact statement on Friday. (Progressive Pulse)

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COAL ASH:
• A Tennessee lawmaker sent a letter to regulators asking the state why it believes toxins found under a coal plant in Memphis are not affecting drinking water. (Associated Press)
• A federal judge ruled that Dominion Energy must submit a revised plan for dealing with coal ash pollution from a Virginia plant and perform at least two years of environmental testing.

Advocates say net metering at risk under North Carolina energy bill

NORTH CAROLINA: Advocates say a provision in North Carolina’s energy bill could open the door to the state’s largest utility cutting net metering rates. (Southeast Energy News)

ALSO: A moratorium on wind farm permits in the bill puts Gov. Roy Cooper between “a rock and a hard place.” (Citizen Times)

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COAL:
• The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts coal will be the top source for the country’s power generation in 2017, but just barely. (Herald-Dispatch)
• Two power plants in the Southeast are examples of coal’s struggle against natural gas. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
• A Kingsport, Tennessee, coal company pleaded guilty in federal court to giving advance notice of safety inspections to mine employees. (Times News)

UTILITIES:
• The Virginia State Corporation Commission will reconsider allowing Dominion Energy power lines to go through land that has been owned for more than a 100 years by descendants of a freed slave.

Virginia Supreme Court ruling upholds state’s pipeline surveying law

PIPELINES: The Virginia Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday to uphold a controversial state law that allows natural gas companies to survey private property for a possible pipeline route without an owner’s consent. (Roanoke Times)

CLIMATE POLICY: As Virginia considers ways to cut carbon emissions, including the possibility of joining a regional cap-and-trade system, Dominion Energy has outlined its terms for supporting such a move. (Southeast Energy News)

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UTILITIES:
• Despite losses related to the Kemper and Vogtle projects, compensation for some of Southern Company’s top executives increased by more than one-third. (Utility Dive)
• The Florida Public Service Commission voted unanimously and without discussion on Thursday to allow Florida Power & Light to bypass a required bid process to upgrade a natural gas plant. (Sun Sentinel)

OIL & GAS:
• The Trump administration announced on Thursday its first offshore oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, reducing royalty rates.

Despite Kemper failure, lawmakers pursue tax credits for carbon capture

CARBON CAPTURE: On the heels of the Kemper plant failure, a bipartisan group of 25 senators, including West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito, plans to introduce a bill to strengthen tax credits for carbon capture and storage projects. (Washington Post)

COAL:
• The North Carolina DEQ announced it will organize a science advisory board to make recommendations, after its new standards for drinking water contaminants have faced criticism from hundreds of people who live near Duke Energy plants. (Progressive Pulse)
• North Carolina residents say Duke Energy shouldn’t “pass their mistakes on to the land owner” after the electric company asks regulators to allow it to charge consumers for the cleanup of coal ash. (Roanoke Times)
• A federal appeals court upheld more than $1 million in fines ordered against one of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies for unpaid bills. (Associated Press)
• National Public Radio examines what can bring jobs to coal country.