Daily Digest

Florida offshore drilling exemption not official, or final

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement that Florida would be exempt from an offshore drilling expansion plan was “not a formal action” nor a final decision, says the acting director of the federal agency in charge of offshore oil and gas leases. (New York Times)

ALSO: Zinke reportedly went “rogue” and made the Florida announcement without first clearing it or coordinating with the White House. The move exposes the department to legal risk because of strict federal policies on offshore leasing. Florida Democrats jumped on the news. (Axios, Tampa Bay Times)

UTILITIES: A bipartisan set of proposals in Virginia would lower rates and refund customers of the state’s two largest electric utilities, but critics say the bills amount to a massive giveaway to Dominion Energy. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• The solar industry braces for a decision from President Donald Trump this week on whether to place tariffs on imported panels. Meanwhile, the U.S. solar industry is attempting to broker its own deal with China to reset solar-trade relations between the two counties. (Associated Press, Bloomberg Business)
• Duke Energy unveils a proposal for a solar rebate program, the first of three proposals it plans to release this week in response to state legislation last summer. (Charlotte Observer)
• Georgia has been slow to embrace solar power, but that could change as Republicans come around from a financial perspective. (Brunswick News)

OIL & GAS: Mississippi is still debating how to spend its money from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they are “days away” from beginning work, but legal challenges still loom. (Fayetteville Observer)

NUCLEAR: A malfunction Friday caused public warning sirens to sound a false alarm near a North Carolina nuclear plant. (Associated Press)

COAL: Entergy threatens to close two Arkansas coal plants by 2021 if it doesn’t get a break from requirements under the U.S. EPA’s regional haze reduction plan. (E&E News, subscription)

COAL ASH: A Samford University public health professor visits Alabama to help assess how pollution from coal-fired power plants affects people who live nearby. (The Times Daily)

COMMENTARY:
• We need to find a replacement for the coal industry’s disappearing jobs, writes the founder of the Coalfield Development Corporation. (Newsweek)
• A columnist asks why Florida Republicans killed a bill that would have brought competition to the electricity business. (Pensacola News Journal)

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