News

Democrats refer Big Oil investigation to Justice Department

Source: By Emma Dumain, Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Two congressional Democrats are asking the Justice Department to pick up where they’ve left off in a yearslong investigation into an alleged climate misinformation campaign perpetuated over decades by Big Oil. The decision by Senate Budget Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and House Oversight and Accountability ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) to escalate the matter to Attorney General Merrick Garland marks a new phase in the lawmakers’ crusade to hold major oil and gas companies, and their trade associations, accountable for the extent to which their activities have contributed to global warming.

Judge advances Exxon climate lawsuit against shareholders

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

A federal judge has refused to drop an activist investor group from an Exxon Mobil lawsuit that has sparked an uprising against the energy giant. Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Wednesday denied a request from shareholder group Arjuna Capital to dismiss Exxon’s lawsuit. Pittman also found that he did not have jurisdiction over Follow This, another shareholder group involved in the case.

Alaska youth sue state over massive LNG project

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Young Alaskans are suing the state for allegedly violating their right to a clean environment by championing a massive liquefied natural gas project. Attorneys for the young people on Wednesday filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against the state to stop the Alaska LNG project, a $43 billion undertaking that has been described as one of the largest proposed infrastructure projects in North America.

19 states ask Supreme Court to topple climate lawsuits

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Opponents of climate lawsuits against the oil and gas industry are trying a new strategy to get the Supreme Court to quash the more than two dozen cases nationwide that could put fossil fuel producers on the hook for billions of dollars. In a motion filed Wednesday with the high court, 19 Republican state attorneys general argued that the climate liability challenges — which seek to hold the oil industry financially accountable for climate impacts — threaten “our basic way of life.”

Louisiana approves largest renewable expansion in state history

Source: By Jack Quinn, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

The Louisiana Public Service Commission backed the state’s largest-ever expansion of renewable power Wednesday, highlighting the shifting electricity mix in a region dominated by natural gas.
The commission approved a plan from Entergy Louisiana to add up to 3,000 megawatts of solar generation to the grid by 2031. If fully executed, the plan would boost non-hydroelectric renewables’ share of electricity generation in Louisiana by 10 times within a decade, increasing it to between 20 percent and 30 percent from 3 percent today.

Why EEI is trying to kill Biden’s climate rule

Source: By Benjamin Storrow, Jean Chemnick, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

The Edison Electric Institute filed a rare legal challenge Wednesday over EPA’s decision to base its new climate change rule on carbon capture and storage. The move puts utilities in a potentially awkward position by disputing one of the Biden administration’s chief climate initiatives at a time when many power companies have committed to eliminating their greenhouse emissions by midcentury. It also means EEI, an influential trade group for large electricity generators, is arguing that carbon capture and sequestration technologies are not ready for deployment, even as some companies look to benefit from federal tax credits for adopting those systems.

Who gets to profit from a bigger grid? Ask the states.

Source: By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Billions of dollars in potential profits are on the table for the companies that build thousands of miles of transmission lines over the next decade to move more carbon-free power. Who gets to build and who gets to profit from that development were at the heart of a proposal by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during its two-year effort to write a rule that ultimately required longer-term electricity planning across the country. In Order 1920, the landmark rule from earlier this month, FERC declined to bring back a federal “right of first refusal” that would give monopoly utilities the exclusive right to propose multibillion-dollar projects passing through their service area. Since 2011, federal policy has been to encourage competition.

Tornado Pummels Wind Turbines in Iowa

Source: By Christopher Flavelle, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

The footage from southwest Iowa is shocking: In the trail of a tornado, a wind turbine is bent in half like a cheap straw, its hub engulfed in flames and thick black smoke, its blades on the ground.
“You’re seeing multiple of these big wind turbine towers that have been destroyed,” Zane Satre, a meteorologist for KCCI 8 News in Des Moines, told viewers. “These are big tall ones — I think they’re what, like 250 feet tall? Well that tornado took them out.”

Slowing EV Sales Are Upending Banker Climate Strategies

Source: By Alastair Marsh, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

A slowdown in EV adoption has potentially huge implications for the energy transition. It also has ramifications for the many financial institutions that have pledged to decarbonize the loans and investments they make. For lenders such as Bank of America Corp., HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. that have committed to reduce emissions associated with their financing activities in high-carbon sectors, the auto industry seemed to have a relatively clear path. Unlike certain hard-to-abate industries where getting to net zero relies on scaling up nascent technologies, a widely held assumption was that government incentives and consumer demand for EVs could be counted upon for a smooth transition.

20 states sue to block Biden’s NEPA rule

Source: By Niina H. Farah, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

Twenty states led by Republican attorneys general are suing to block the White House’s latest rule on how agencies should comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley are leading the challenge to the second phase of the NEPA implementing regulations that the Council on Environmental Quality finalized last month. Other states involved in the lawsuit are Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.