Daily Digest

Contingency plan to deal with offshore oil spills still needs revamping

2010 BP OIL SPILL:
• Five years after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the national contingency plan used to respond to oil drilling accidents still needs to be revamped according to a former top Federal regulator. (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana)
• Resolution of criminal cases spawned by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are largely unresolved. (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, Louisiana)
• Critics assert energy companies haven’t developed safety measures to prevent or contain an offshore oil drilling disaster — a sign that lessons of BP’s 2010 spill were short-lived. (Associated Press)
Tar balls of oil still frequently dot Gulf Coast beaches, five years after the BP oil spill. (WVUE-TV, New Orleans, Louisiana)
• Five years after the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, the industry is working on drilling even further into the risky depths beneath the Gulf of Mexico to tap massive deposits once thought unreachable. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE: In a visit to Florida’s Everglades this Wednesday for Earth Day, President Obama is to assert global warming threatens South Florida’s tourism industry. (Saint Peters Blog, Florida)

SOLAR:
• A unit of Atlanta-based Southern Company
• Holocene Clean Energy of Raleigh and a German solar company have closed financing on the purchase of five solar projects totaling 28 megawatts in North Carolina that. (Triangle Business Journal, North Carolina)
• The Wheeling Green Table and the Wheeling Academy of Law and Science in West Virginia are organizing a bulk purchasing solar co-op in conjunction with the non-profit group WV SUN. (The Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Car dealers in Georgia say they expect sales in electric vehicles will drop now that Georgia is eliminating a tax credit to subsidize them. (Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Georgia)

UTILITIES:
• The Tennessee Valley Authority’s updated Integrated Resource Plan calls for more intentional efforts to help customers use power more efficiently. (Nashville Public Radio, Tennessee)
• Activists assert that legislation proposed in Florida to tighten rules governing utility dealings with regulators don’t go far enough. (Saint Peters Blog, Florida)
• Electricity rates increases for some large customers of Danville Utilities are putting jobs at put jobs at risk. (Register Bee, Danville, Virginia)
• Duke Energy Florida has been fined $90,000 in connection with safety violations and the 2014 death of a former employee who was electrocuted at a substation. (Ocala Star-Banner, Florida)

COAL:
• The stock price of Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources has dipped below the threshold needed to maintain its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. (Pittsburgh Business-Times)
Coal giant Murray Energy laid off 214 miners with a clear message calling for lower state taxes to unearth coal. (The Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia)
• As mines shutter and coal production drops off, counties across Southern West Virginia are cutting budgets, largely the result of declining coal severance tax revenues. (The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia)
• West Virginia’s Dept. of Environmental Protection told the owners of about 90 coal-preparation plants to disclose and test for potential pollutants that could be dumped into a waterway. (The Charleston Gazette, West Virginia)

COAL ASH:
Dominion Virginia Power said it plans to close all of the coal ash ponds at its Virginia power stations. (Richmond Times Dispatch)
• A U.S. District Court judge has continued until May 14 Duke Energy’s plea and sentencing hearing on nine misdemeanor charges over the 2014 Dan River coal-ash  spill. (Charlotte Business Journal)

OIL & GAS:
• Duke Energy Progress has asked North Carolina regulators to approve construction of two small combustion turbine natural-gas plants, totaling 84 megawatts, at its Sutton Plant near Wilmington. (Triad Business Journal, North Carolina)
• A pipeline planned to transmit gasoline from South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida could use eminent domain laws to take needed land. (Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville)
• Developers of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline are suing landowners in West Virginia so they can survey the route proposed for the natural gas transmission project. (The Intelligencer, Wheeling, West Virginia)

COMMENTARY:
• With their McCarthy-style vendettas and armed with millions of dollars of campaign contributions from the far-right, climate-change deniers are “super-hypocritical”.   (Palm Beach Post)
• In its “Front Porch”  program, participants asserts West Virginia officials should stop trying to save the coal industry and focus instead helping families and communities deal with its decline. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
• The North Carolina legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory would do well to enable competitive markets for solar energy. (The Daily Reflector, Greenville, North Carolina)
Still learning the lessons from the 2010 BP oil spill. (The Birmingham News, Alabama)

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