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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

January 2, 2022

Top Story

Biden Administration Approves Two Big Solar Projects

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:49:10

The Biden administration said  that it had given the go-ahead to two major solar projects on federal land in the California desert, pushing forward with clean energy plans by using federal authority after Joe Manchin III, the West Virginia senator and coal industry supporter, this week said he would not back broader climate legislation, stalling it in Congress. The two approved solar projects, and a third for which approval is nearing completion, would generate about 1,000 megawatts, enough electricity to power about 132,000 homes, the Interior Department said. All three projects are in Riverside County, Calif. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Coming Soon to This Coal County: Solar, in a Big Way

By Cara Buckley, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:48:33

For a mountain that’s had its top blown off, the old Martiki coal mine is looking especially winsome these days. With its vast stretches of emerald grass dotted with hay bales and ringed with blue-tinged peaks, and the wild horses and cattle that roam there, it looks less like a shuttered strip mine and more like an ad for organic milk. The mountain is poised for another transformation. Hundreds of acres are set to be blanketed with solar panels in the coming year, installed by locals, many of them former miners. The $231 million project, which recently cleared its last regulatory hurdle, may well be the biggest utility-scale coal to solar project in the country. [ read more … ]

Emissions

Military exempt from Biden order to cut federal emissions

By Adam Aton, E&E News  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:50:04

There’s a Pentagon-size hole in President Biden’s plans to cut government emissions. Biden signed an executive order earlier this month directing the government to reach 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. It also calls for eliminating climate pollution from federal buildings and vehicles. But the executive order exempts anything related to national security, combat, intelligence or military training. [ read more … ]

Pollution

‘We’re Being Wrapped in Poison’: A Century of Oil and Gas Development Has Devastated the Ponca City Region of Northern Oklahoma

By Phil McKenna, Inside Climate News  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:48:55

When Earl “Trey” Howe III returned home here after four years of military service, the first thing he noticed was the smell. Howe grew up in and around Ponca City, the site of the Phillips 66 refinery, one of the oldest and largest crude oil refineries and tank farms in the country. The smell from the plant—a sulfur-rich odor somewhere between rotten eggs and freshly paved asphalt—was so constant, he’d never even noticed it.  But now, it seemed to follow him everywhere.  [ read more … ]

Courts

Year in review: 2021 paved the way for enviro law action

By Pamela King, E&E News  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:48:13

President Biden’s first 11 months in office have brought new environmental regulations for litigants to spar over — and new judges to referee the disputes. The year’s biggest environmental law milestone — the Supreme Court’s October decision to review EPA’s climate authority — is thought to be the direct effect of former President Trump’s work to reshape the federal courts, which Biden is now attempting to recalibrate. The unusual case asks the justices to weigh in on the scope of EPA’s power to issue climate rules under the Clean Air Act, even though no such regulation is currently on the books.
[ read more … ]

EVs

Can EV chargers act like gas stations? That won’t be easy

By David Ferris, E&E News  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:50:25

The problem is that an EV charger is in many ways nothing like a gas station. But the comparison, apt or not, is already starting to shape the political debate over the rollout of federal money over the next few years, not to mention the features of the electric fueling network that drivers will use for the foreseeable future. “The model is the gas station network,” said Joel Levin, the executive director of Plug In America, one of the country’s biggest EV advocacy groups. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

Q&A: Steven Chu on DOE, grid troubles and Biden’s ‘bind’

By Edward Klump, E&E News  •    •  Posted 2022-01-02 09:49:32

The former Energy secretary looked back fondly on his time with DOE, including the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and using the loan program to support large renewable projects. Tesla Inc. likely would have gone bankrupt without DOE support, he said. On the flip side, the 2011 bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar startup that received a DOE loan guarantee, continues to attract criticism a decade later. [ read more … ]

 

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.