Daily Digest

Advocates slam Trump’s choice for EPA administrator

POLICY:
Environmental advocates in North Carolina and elsewhere criticize President-elect Trump’s choice of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator. (Progressive Pulse, The Washington Post)
• Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory meets with President-elect Donald Trump. (Progressive Pulse)

COAL:
• Duke Energy’s CEO reminds a conference in Virginia that a revival of the coal industry is unlikely. (Bristol Herald Courier)
• A short-term extension of health-care benefits for retired miners proposed by Congressional Republicans is far from what miners deserve and need, union leaders and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, say. (Charleston Gazette-Mail, The Hill)
• A $1 billion proposal to help struggling coal regions is left out of a short-term federal spending bill. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• The Interior Dept. designates more than 500 miles of mountain ridge lines in East Tennessee as unsuitable for future surface mining. (Associated Press)
• Coal industry executives offered an initial to-do list for President-elect Trump: stop the Clean Power Plan and the “stream protection” rule. (Platts)

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CLIMATE:
Several states in the Southeast that went for President-elect Trump face significant climate challenges the federal government could help mitigate. (The Atlantic)
Rep. Carlos Rubelo, R-FL, draws a spotlight in a National Geographic TV series on climate change. (POLITICO Florida, National Geographic TV)
Environmentalists prepare to use legal means to enforce pollution rules. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
• With about 30% of its hog farms located in North Carolina, pork producer Smithfield draws accolades for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (GreenBiz.com)

PIPELINES:
• Environmentalists accuse the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of a built-in bias for interstate pipelines, including several planned through Virginia. (Public News Service)
Students at a private Virginia college jump into conversations about pipelines planned through the state. (The Blue & Gray Press)
• Critics of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia claim regulators’ draft of its environmental impact statement is “riddled with errors.” (WVTF)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• With Duke Energy’s help, Greensboro, North Carolina is converting its 47 buses to run on electricity rather than diesel fuel. (Triad Business Journal)
Advocates in Virginia urge Gov. Terry McAuliffe to use the state’s $87 million settlement from the Volkswagen emissions scandal to advance EVs. (Sierra Club)

WEST VIRGINIA: A former utility CEO and coal industry executives are among those chosen by Governor-elect Jim Justice to advise him on energy challenges facing the state. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COAL ASH: Duke Energy is negotiating compensation of neighbors of its ash pits facing depressed property values or a future dependent on municipal water due to feared groundwater pollution. (Winston Salem-Journal, Charlotte Business Journal)

SOLAR:
• Dominion Virginia Power says it is testing the viability of solar with systems at 10 sites across the state. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
O’Henry’s Coffees in Homewood, Alabama plans to power its operations with solar energy. (Birmingham Business Journal)

EFFICIENCY: A grandson of media mogul Ted Turner is named to be Atlanta’s new director of sustainability. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

UTILITIES: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is the battleground where electricity suppliers and environmentalists are squaring off over a water effluent rule that could be influenced by next EPA administrator. (Greenwire)

NATURAL GAS: Consol Energy, an active producer of gas throughout Appalachia that used to be a leading coal supplier, is not looking back. (Wall Street Journal)

TRANSPORTATION: Virginia localities, including Fredericksburg, take stock of a high-speed rail line planned from Florida to Washington, D.C. (Fredericksburg Free Lane-Star)

COMMENTARY:
• As Elon Musk helps create 35,000 jobs in the Southeast and elsewhere, why isn’t he talking to President-elect Trump about job creation? (New York Times)
Florida Power & Light’s actions on multiple fronts should be wake-up calls for South Florida residents concerned about their drinking water and access to solar energy. (Miami New Times)
• Federal regulators should stop dragging their feet in reviewing a plan to expand the liquefied natural gas export terminal at Elba Island, Georgia. (Savannah Morning News)
What should Kentuckians say to Sen. Mitch McConnell, who won’t secure long-term health and pension benefits for coal miners? (Lexington Herald-Leader)

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