Daily Digest

Coal industry groups mount challenge over exposure to criminal liability

COAL: Industry groups challenge the conviction of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, saying it wrongly puts any coal executive at risk of criminal liability. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ALSO:
Southern Co. takes issue with claims in a report by The New York Times asserting it tried to hide problems at its troubled “clean coal” plant in Mississippi. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
Arch Coal, with operations throughout much of Appalachia, announces support of unsecured creditors in its bit to exit bankruptcy. (The Wall Street Journal)
• West Virginia’s senators plot a vote this fall to continue pension and health benefits for retired coal miners. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)

EFFICIENCY:
• After a slow start, PACE financing is picking up in Florida. (Southeast Energy News)
• The Birmingham, Alabama city council will consider a multimillion-dollar partnership with Trane to improve the efficiency of city buildings. (Birmingham Business Journal)
• Administrators of Greene County, Tennessee schools tally the economic benefits of a four-year lighting efficiency program. (WCYB)

BIOMASS:
• Some farmers in Virginia are exploring how to harvest tobacco for biofuels. (The Guardian)
• A university explores whether harvesting affects wildlife. (North Carolina State University)

EMISSIONS: With Atlanta now in compliance, a six-state region in the Southeast complies with the federal ozone standard limiting emissions from power plants and tailpipes. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

SOLAR:
• Developers plan a large solar farm on a former South Carolina landfill and toxic waste disposal site. (Waste 360)
Utility-controlled solar is the real driver behind its growth in Georgia and North Carolina, while net-metering is boosting home systems Mississippi. (Reuters)
• About one-tenth of 1 percent of utility customers in Florida generate some of their power with solar. (Tampa Bay Times)
• Utilities backing a proposed solar amendment to Florida’s Constitution have raised a total of $15.7 million through June. (Florida Politics)
• Florida Power & Light will hear stakeholder input on a proposed 1,300-acre solar farm stretching across two counties. (The Gainesville Sun)
Chambers County, Alabama authorizes a $100 million investment in a solar system. (Opelika-Auburn News)

UTILITIES: Duke Energy Progress seeks a 15 percent hike in its base rates tied to its investments in solar and other cleaner energy sources. (Charlotte Observer)

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas and solar are closing in on coal as sources of power generation in Kentucky. (The Land Report)

OIL & GAS: Louisiana is among states cutting budgets and raising a variety of taxes to make up for a shortfall in oil and gas tax revenue. (The Hill)

CLIMATE: More experts say the warming climate makes flooding more likely. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COAL ASH: A battle over an ash disposal at an Alabama landfill plays out on social media. (InsideClimate News)

COMMENTARY:
• When is an 11.5 percent profit for utility shareholders too much? We’re about to find out in Florida Power & Light’s bid for a 24 percent rate hike. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)
• The controversy over the viability of Southern Co.’s “clean coal” plants illustrates the pitfalls of inadequate oversight of utilities. (Vox)
• Are rural electric coops driving or just dabbling in community solar? (Clean Technica / Institute of Local Self-Reliance)

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