Energy news in brief

** The Trump administration is giving companies temporary breaks on royalties and rent they pay to extract oil and gas on public land, which could lower revenue for states like North Dakota.

** Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is expected to sign an executive order today that includes extending a ban on utility shut-offs through June.

** In its decision to strike down a Washington state law meant to regulate oil transported by rail from North Dakota, a federal agency says a state can’t use “safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth.” 

** The Missouri Farm Bureau says lawmakers’ inaction on a bill that would have prevented developers from using eminent domain for the Grain Belt Express transmission project was a missed opportunity.

** Michigan regulators are still weighing Enbridge’s request to waive a typical review process as the company seeks to build a tunnel in the Great Lakes for the Line 5 pipeline.

**  National Oilwell Varco, Inc. announced that during its regularly-scheduled meeting, the Board of Directors elected to suspend the Company’s quarterly dividend until further notice.

** Amazon announced five new renewable energy projects in China, Australia and the U.S. that further support Amazon’s commitment to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030 as well as to reach net zero carbon by 2040. Amazon’s newest renewable energy projects in the U.S. include two new projects in Ohio, a 200 MW solar project and an 80 MW solar project. Additionally, a new 130 MW solar project in Virginia brings the total number of renewable energy projects in the Commonwealth to 12.

** A new Yale study finds renewable energy projects on public land have contributed $13 billion to the economy since 1996.

** Arizona will lose 4,000 solar jobs by June because of the coronavirus crisis according to a new analysis.

** New Mexico regulators say new rules aiming to crack down on methane emissions are being crafted, but environmental groups and the oil and gas industry disagree on the approach being taken.

** The nominee for deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy claims the Trump administration has no plans to use Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste storage site, contradicting a statement he made in February.

** A new report says Microsoft’s dealings with the oil industry could undermine its goal to be “carbon negative” by 2030.

** FERC officials said they are working with Michigan regulators to investigate the rupture of the Edenville dam. The federal agency revoked the 96-year-old dam’s license to generate power in 2018, after which it fell under the authority of the state of Michigan.

** EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday that lawsuits threatened by three attorneys general and a conservation group this week over enforcement of Chesapeake Bay cleanup plans could hurt EPA’s ongoing work in the watershed.

 

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