Energy news in brief

** A federal judge in Utah has nixed a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s sale of a few dozen oil and gas leases in the southeastern part of the state. Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance will have to wait to resolve their concerns over the environmental analyses of 43 leases the agency sold in March 2018 and has since suspended.

** Alaska voters could decide this year whether to increase taxes on some of the state’s legacy oil fields, after activists spent months collecting signatures to force a vote on the proposal. Organizers of Alaska’s Fair Share petition were required to collect 28,501 signatures to call a statewide election. They wound up with about 44,000, and they met other criteria, including getting signatures from more than 7% of registered voters in 37 of the state’s legislative districts.

** Democratic congressman Ed Case wants an end to sightseeing helicopter flights over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He testified this week during a House committee hearing on his bill called the “Safe Quiet Skies Act.”

** President Trump plans to nominate Nancy Beck to join and lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the White House announced Monday. A former executive at the American Chemistry Council, Beck recently returned to EPA from a detail to the White House’s National Economic Council.

** Maine independent Sen. Angus King wants to mine America’s “desk drawers” to power a clean energy future.The senator yesterday unveiled the “Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act,” S. 3356.

** The U.S. Senate will consider a sweeping energy package this week that includes funding for various clean energy technologies, though it’s expected to draw opposition from Democrats seeking stronger climate requirements. 

** Coal deliveries to U.S. power plants declined 6.7% in 2019, according to federal data.

** Officials mark the 50th anniversary of the Nebraska Public Power District with the opening of a nearly 5 MW solar project.

** While Democrats in congress are critical of the Republican tree-planting climate plan, in the state of New Mexico, the administration of Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced it will plant 1,200 trees across the state in celebration of Arbor Month.

** Montana’s largest utility says early coal plant closures raise the probability of blackouts.

** Well Fargo is the third major bank to end supporting financing for oil and gas projects in the Arctic.

** Alaska’s senate votes to double the state’s gas tax; the bill would also raise the state’s marine fuel tax and increase registration fees for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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