Daily Digest

Study: State policies could help create 160,000 jobs annually

POLICY: State policies aimed at developing advanced energy technologies could stimulate 160,000 new jobs annually in the Southeast U.S., new research shows. (ClimateWire)

BLANKENSHIP TRIAL:
• A key question to be answered by a judge in the sentencing expected today of the convicted coal executive is whether he’ll remain free during an appeal. (USA Today)
• For relatives of workers killed six years ago in a West Virginia coal mine explosion, Blankenship’s sentence will not bring closure. (West Virginia Public Radio)

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TECHNOLOGY: A North Carolina company is working with partners to develop a demonstration plant designed to generate electricity from fossil fuels with zero emissions, at a comparable cost to existing facilities. (Vox)

SOLAR:
• The Tri-Cities region is becoming home to the first community solar system in Northeast Tennessee. (WJHL-TV)
• Duke Energy says it has spent $725 million on solar projects in North Carolina over the past five years. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• Lawmakers in Florida form a fundraising group to support an amendment that would grant a property tax break to solar system owners. (Tampa Bay Times)
Rowan County, North Carolina approves a large solar farm near its airport. (Salisbury Post)
• A non-profit in Virginia shows off a new rooftop solar system powering its expanded headquarters. (Fauquier Now)
• North Carolina sets a May 16 hearing on Duke Energy’s plan to build a 6-megawatt solar farm in Rowan County. (Charlotte Business Journal)

COAL:
• A Kentucky bill to abolish the state’s mine safety inspections is likely dead for this year. (WKYU Public Radio)
• A symposium in Virginia spotlights the potential to shift coal mining to production of “rare earth” minerals. (Kingsport Times News)
• New data show a steep drop in the deployment of Arkansas’ two largest coal-fired power plants. (Arkansas Matters / SNL)

NUCLEAR:
• The CEO of Southern Co. wants investors to think of it as a “new energy” startup, including plans to build more nuclear reactors. (Bloomberg Government)
• Next steps toward more new nuclear reactors by Georgia Power could come in a future vote on its integrated resource plan. (Augusta Chronicle) 

COAL ASH:
• Scrutiny grows over how Dominion Virginia Power will manage coal ash situated alongside a public park near Richmond. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
• Residents near a Dominion Virginia Power ash pond switch to bottled water. (WJLA-TV)
Students at the University of Virginia host a teach-in about the risks of ash pollution. (The Cavalier Daily)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Opponents now focus their energy on banning seismic testing. (McClatchy)

PIPELINES: Data from two large pipelines serving parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic illustrate how gas-fired generation is overtaking coal. (SNL)

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CLIMATE: Faith-based activism on climate change grows in North Carolina. (ClimateProgress)

COMMENTARY:
• Why a Virginia utility isn’t joining the opposition to the Clean Power Plan. (Bacon’s Rebellion)
• Where’s the outrage over illegal dumping of fracking waste in Kentucky? (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• More leaders in West Virginia are grasping the need to diversify its economy away from coal. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• The “smart solar” amendment on Florida’s November ballot should be rejected. (TC Palm)
• Does a ban on drilling off the Mid-Atlantic coast still enable seismic testing? (Free-Times)

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