Energy news in brief

** The Minnesota Supreme Court rules that a county’s ban on frac sand mining did not violate the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

** Minnesota lawmakers are working on legislation aimed at providing relief to homeowners who have been scammed by solar businesses after another company loses its license in the state for substandard work. 

** Attorneys representing 1,700 former Blackjewel employees in Wyoming in a class-action lawsuit reached a settlement yesterday with the bankrupt coal operator.

** Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill into law requiring electric public utilities to “first make a good faith effort” to sell coal-fired electric generation facilities before retiring them.

** A policy expert says New Mexico’s goal to transition to carbon-free electricity by 2045 could be at risk, as any new natural gas assets could be “stranded” as companies divest from natural gas in favor of renewable energy.

** The director of Colorado’s Energy Office says his agency is trying to figure out how to achieve the clean energy goals set out in the state’s 2019 climate plan.

** Two University of Wyoming professors received a provisional patent for a method to help the oil and gas industry reduce emissions created by natural gas flaring and venting.

** The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers group has canceled its annual meeting set for March 22-24 in Austin, Texas because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. It also called off the International Petrochemical Conference scheduled for March 29-31 in New Orleans.

** Attorneys general for 20 states, cities and territories this week warned that the Trump administration’s proposed changes to rules implementing a core environmental statute would lead to a “significant increase” in new legal battles over federal decisionmaking.