Energy news in brief

** The Trump administration said it would offer all available areas in the Gulf of Mexico for auction to oil and gas drillers on Nov. 18, the first major test of the offshore sector’s appetite for investment since early this year.

** A Minnesota judge on Friday ruled that the state’s pollution regulator and Enbridge Inc used proper methods for water crossing for its Line 3 oil pipeline replacement, clearing another hurdle for the project that has faced years of delay.

** Following anchor strikes on Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan lawmakers seek to ban large boats from dropping anchors in the area.

** A month after ousting the Trump administration’s public lands boss for being in the post unlawfully, a Montana judge on Friday blocked three land-use plans that would have opened most U.S.-owned lands in the state to energy development. The actions struck down by Judge Brian Morris were implemented while William Perry Pendley was serving as acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

** The Trump administration’s EPA will let some leaking or otherwise dangerous coal ash storage ponds stay in operation for years more and some unlined ponds stay open indefinitely under a rule change announced Friday. The move is the administration’s latest rollback of environmental and public health regulations governing operators of coal-fired power plants.

** Portland General Electric Company said it has permanently shut its Boardman Generating Station, the only coal-fired power plant in Oregon, to reduce air emissions. Some of the plant’s employees will stay during 2021 and ready the facility for demolition and removal beginning in 2022.

** The problem-plagued Limetree Bay refinery in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, may lose its main supplier of crude, oil major BP, if it isn’t successfully up and running by December, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Caribbean refinery’s owner, Limetree Bay Ventures, has spent at least $2.7 billion restoring the facility, initially hoping to tap rising demand for low-sulfur fuels and markets in Latin American and Caribbean. But the plant’s restart date has been delayed by nearly a year now.

** Federal officials move forward with a court-ordered environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline and will consider the developer’s plan to nearly double its capacity, which gained approval this week from Illinois regulators.

** Construction begins on Alliant Energy’s 2.5 MW battery storage project in northeastern Iowa.

** An Ohio lobbyist charged in the federal corruption investigation surrounding power plant subsidies believes the government’s case against him was built in part on secret recordings made involving a separate policy issue.

**  Pennsylvania regulators fine a landfill $59,000 for faulty record keeping and allowing leaks of fracking waste.

** A lawsuit filed in a Montana federal court alleges the Energy Department’s National Coal Council operates in secret in violation of federal law, serving the interests of the coal industry.

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