Energy news in brief

** Phillips 66  executive management will host a conference call webcast at noon EST on Friday, Jan. 31, to discuss the company’s fourth-quarter 2019 financial results, which will be released earlier that day, and provide an update on strategic initiatives.

** Columbia Gas proposes building a $135 million natural gas pipeline through central Ohio.

** PG&E CEO Bill Johnson tells a U.S. Senate committee that California’s wildfires were largely caused by climate change, pushing back against a report this month from state regulators that pointed a finger at poorly maintained transmission equipment.

** Arizona utilities are now required to undertake long-term contracts to purchase power from solar and renewable energy generating stations under a new policy set by state regulators.

** Candidates debated climate change issues ranging from nuclear energy to the need to relocate at-risk communities for on the debate stage Thursday night during the Democratic debate hosted by PBS NewsHour and POLITICO. Some takeaways:

 “The answer is yes,” former Vice President Joe Biden said when asked if he’d be willing to sacrifice oil and gas jobs in order to phase out fossil fuels and shift to a greener economy. “The answer is yes, because the opportunity, the opportunity for those workers to transition to high paying jobs … is real.” Those unequivocal comments are notable, given Biden’s blue-collar background.

** EPA proposed a new federal permitting program for facilities disposing of coal ash. The agency was directed by Congress in 2016 to create the program that governs states that don’t have their own permitting schemes, as well as in Indian country.