Energy news in brief

** A North Dakota lawmaker says moratoria on utility-scale wind projects in three counties is a futile attempt to save coal jobs and could harm the future of various agricultural enterprises reported the Duluth News Tribune.

** Utah has joined a lawsuit opposing a California city’s rejection of a coal export terminal reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

** A watchdog group is opposing renewal of state permits for a Wyoming coal mine as $50 million in royalty payments remain unsettled according to the Wyoming News Exchange.

** Enbridge is “hell-bent on jamming through their Line 3” pipeline under small northern Minnesota towns and the homeland of the Anishinaabe, writes author and activist Winona LaDuke according to The Nation.

** The U.S. Forest Service approves the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s passage through 3.5 miles of Jefferson National Forest, and environmental groups sue to appeal the decision according to the Roanoke Times and WDBJ.

** Southern Environmental Law Center and two other groups appeal Alabama regulators’ decision allowing Alabama Power to increase its natural gas capacity by more than 1,800 MW while denying solar plus storage projects.

** With big investments in electric vehicles by General Motors and Volkswagen last year, Tennessee is poised to become a national leader in advanced energy jobs, writes the director of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council.

** Two top political officials at EPA — Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy Brittany Bolen and Associate Administrator for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations Joseph Brazauskas — have stepped down, telling POLITICO that the attack on Capitol Hill was a driving motivator in their decisions to leave.

** POLITICO also reported the Environmental Defense Fund filed the first legal challenge to the Trump administration’s controversial scientific transparency rule on Monday, asking a federal judge in Montana who has ruled repeatedly in favor of green groups in recent cases to swiftly halt its implementation.

** Utah conservation groups are prepared to fight a new Trump Administration rule change that frees companies from being penalized if birds are accidentally killed from business activities including oil spills according to Utah Public Radio.

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