Energy news in brief

** A federal appeals court denies a request to stop work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, upholding an agency’s finding that the pipeline won’t significantly affect endangered and threatened species according to the Roanoke Times.

** More than 100 green groups signed onto a letter Wednesday urging top appropriators on the Hill to remove a provision in the Senate’s latest Interior-Environment spending bill that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from considering listing the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act reported POLITICO.

** Reuters reports Venezuelans, desperate for fuel after months of shortages, have begun stealing crude from idled fields owned by state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela and distilling homemade gasoline, according to two PDVSA workers and a half dozen people familiar with the practice.

** Duke Energy and Southern Company are among the utilities joining a new lobbying group calling for a 100% shift to electric cars by 2030.

** San Antonio’s city-owned electric utility says it owes too much money on a coal-fired power plant to close it in the next decade reported the San Antonio Express-News.

** The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the Tennessee Valley Authority boosts pay and benefits for its president, the highest paid federal employee in America, while navigating a $5.6 billion pension shortfall.

** A new Louisiana State University study says the state’s oil and gas industry likely has moved past the worst of its pandemic-related downturn, though it may never rebound to where it was before COVID-19.

** The Baltimore Sun reports environmental activists continue the fight against a natural gas pipeline to the Eastern Shore of Maryland as it moves through the approval process of various state borders.

** Environmental attorneys say Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a compelling legal argument to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, but a court dispute with Enbridge could drag on for years reported Bridge Michigan.

** A BloombergNEF study released Thursday projects that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions will decrease 9.2 percent this year to 5.9 billion metric tons, the lowest level since 1983, as a result of the stalled economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

** Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said he plans to take on the role of chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the next Congress, potentially replacing Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is stepping down and anticipated to lead the Indian Affairs committee reported The Morning Consult.

** California utility PG&E acknowledges it “could have and should have” done better in implementing power outages in 2019, but argues it shouldn’t be subject to $166 million in fines as proposed by a state watchdog.

** In California, the state that has moved to shut down oil and gas production and move toward solar and wind power, local activists fight a proposed 410 acre solar project on the outskirts of California’s Bay Area, saying it poses a threat to agricultural land.

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