Daily Digest

Coal’s decline in Arkansas drives emissions below Clean Power Plan threshold

COAL: Coal burning in Arkansas declined so much in 2015 that carbon emissions are below the level that would be required if the Clean Power Plan survives court challenges. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

ALSO:
• Southern Co. sees its credit ranking downgraded due to an SEC probe and rising costs at its Kemper coal-gasification plant in Mississippi. (Wall Street Journal)
• In a bid to attract new employers, West Virginia envisions transforming a 12,000-acre surface mine into an industrial and commercial site. (Area Development)
• The battle over a proposed rule to protect streams from coal mining intensifies. (Greenwire)

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SOLAR:
• A developer proposes a second solar project next to one under construction for Amazon Web Services on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. (Lancaster Farming)
King George County, Virginia decides to lease land for a solar system that could create a new revenue stream for 25 or more years. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
Advocates in Florida have trouble agreeing on the best policy to promote solar. (Florida Politics)
Virginia-based AES says utilities that engage about solar stand to benefit the most from it. (Greentech Media)
• A “Junior Solar Sprint” competition highlights students’ research projects at the Florida Solar Energy Center. (Florida Today)

COAL ASH:
• A deposition from the state epidemiologist says North Carolina turned its back on high levels of a suspected cancer-causing contaminant found near Duke Energy’s ash basins. (Winston-Salem Journal)
• Amid a flurry of tests, Virginia residents near Dominion Virginia Power’s ash ponds express growing concern over the safety of their drinking water. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
North Carolina officials criticize an environmental non-profit for spotlighting only partial information while claiming harmful metals in drinking water near ash ponds. (WTVD)
• A Georgia official says it will “go above and beyond” existing rules for disposing of ash. (WABE Public Radio)

CLIMATE: The Union of Concerned Scientists warns that suing oil companies over their grasp of climate change would not be legally sound. (Washington Free Beacon)

HYDROPOWER: Mississippi moves closer to generating electricity from dams. (Mississippi Today)

POLICY: Three Republican candidates vie to serve a six-year term on the Georgia Public Service Commission. (Savannah Morning News)

OIL & GAS:
• The West Virginia Attorney General takes aim at the Obama administration’s new rules to reduce methane emissions. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)
• The Coast Guard continues to skim oil off the Gulf of Mexico after a Shell flow line leaked about 88,000 gallons. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• A Houston company faces eight lawsuits in federal court after spilling about 12,500 gallons of oil into a Louisiana bayou. (The Acadiana Advocate)

PIPELINES:
Competition for new pipelines through Virginia and West Virginia grows the risk of a capacity glut. (The Roanoke Times)
• A pipeline explosion in Pennsylvania prompts residents in Augusta County, Virginia to scrutinize the safety of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (Augusta News Leader)
• A Kentucky county considers giving zoning authorities the power to approve conversion of a natural gas pipeline to carry more volatile natural gas liquids. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

FRACKING: Contrary to previous assurances, Kentucky finds waste to be disposed of in a landfill designed for household garbage exceeds radioactivity limits. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

NUCLEAR: An environmental group calls for a public hearing on proposed design changes at the Plant Vogtle reactors under construction in Georgia. (Augusta Chronicle)

GRID: A utility task force co-chaired by the CEO of Southern Co. outlines how the industry is preparing for possible attacks on their networks. (EnergyWire)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: An EV maker is not living up to an agreement with Mississippi to hire 250 employees at is manufacturing plant in its Delta region. (Associated Press)

BLANKENSHIP TRIAL: After a judge denies his motion to remain free while he appeals his conviction, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship begins his one-year sentence at a low-security prison in California.  (Associated Press)

NATURAL GAS: A task force of officials from Asheville, North Carolina, environmental groups and Duke Energy begins studying how to avoid building a new gas-fired power plant there. (Asheville Citizen-Times)

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EFFICIENCY: Athens, Georgia is converting about 4,300 roadway lights to LED bulbs. (Athens Banner-Herald)

COMMENTARY:
• Contrary to recent media reports, climate change is not why residents of Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles are moving away. (Houma Today)
• Scrutiny of the possibility of disposing of coal ash in a Georgia garbage landfill is growing. (Bitter Southerner)
• With clean energy growing in Republican districts in North Carolina and elsewhere, it’s time to recalibrate climate politics. (Eco Watch)
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe deserves more credit than he’s getting for protecting the environment. (The Virginian-Pilot)

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