Daily Digest

Ex-coal baron receives one year prison term, $250,000 fine

BLANKENSHIP TRIAL: Former coal executive Don Blankenship is sentenced to a year in prison – the maximum allowed – and a $250,000 fine for knowingly violating safety standards. (New York Times)

ALSO:
Families of workers killed in a 2010 explosion at a mine run by Don Blankenship decry the judge’s sentence. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Don Blankenship insists – again – “I’m not guilty of a crime.” (News Channel 6)
Federal legislation that would stiffen penalties for mine safety violations, supported by both of West Virginia’s senators, languishes in Congress. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• What it was like inside, and outside, the West Virginia courtroom for Blankenship’s sentencing. (West Virginia Public Radio)

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FRACKING: Researchers find evidence of endocrine disrupting chemicals near a wastewater disposal facility in West Virginia. (Pittsburgh Tribune)

SOLAR:
• A new report on cities deploying solar spotlights Jacksonville and Raleigh. (Environment America)
• Construction begins on a community solar system in Rockbridge County, Virginia. (WDBJ-TV)

WIND: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe touts a wind farm in his push for more renewable energy sources. (The Roanoke Times)

COAL ASH: A hearing over local impacts of ash dumps in North Carolina is next up for a federal civil rights commission inquiry. (Southern Environmental Law Center)

LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS: The company developing an export terminal in Titusville, Florida delays its opening at least until 2017. (Platts)

2010 BP GULF OIL SPILL:
• Louisiana has paid 11 law firms almost $40 million to guide its litigation. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• A former BP engineer is sentenced to 10 months’ probation for a misdemeanor pollution charge. (Associated Press)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Federal prosecutors fine a company for violating safety and environmental rules in the Gulf of Mexico and place it on three years probation. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: Atlanta-based LED bulb maker Acuity sees its stock value rise while that of Durham-based Cree declines. (Triangle Business Journal)

CLIMATE: University of Georgia scientists create what may be the first climate action plan for a Roman Catholic archdiocese based on Pope Francis’ encyclical. (Athens Banner-Herald)

PIPELINES:
• Businesses, community groups and citizens in Virginia urge federal regulators to review four planned pipelines. (Augusta Free Press)
• Conservation groups in Virginia say Dominion is neglecting to disclose pollution expected from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (Staunton News Leader)

ACADEMIA: Virginia Tech creates a sustainable energy research initiative. (Virginia Business)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today for Solar Power Southeast, May 25-26 in Atlanta. This year’s event will include educational sessions as well as a completely sold out exhibit floor. Get a 15% discount with code SPSE16SACE. ***

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: Covanta Environmental Solutions expands its processing capabilities in the Southeast. (Renewable Energy from Waste)

COMMENTARY:
• Why punishments for deadly coal mine accidents do not fit the crime and fines often go unpaid. (Huffington Post / National Public Radio)
• Here’s how to make coal companies pay up to clean up abandoned mines. (Grist)
Louisiana’s $8.7 billion share of the payout from BP’s 2010 Gulf oil spill could speed up coastal restoration projects if used prudently. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
• The mayor of Pinecrest, Florida explains why it joined an amicus brief in support of the Clean Power Plan. (TIME / National League of Cities)
• Rising interest in commercial space launches in Florida is threatened by rising sea levels. (Orlando Sentinel)
• Advocates need to grasp the role of aviation regulators in siting new wind farms. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)
• Differences may be narrowing between Dominion and environmental advocates over its coal ash disposal plans but big hurdles remain. (Bacon’s Rebellion)

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