Brief energy stories

** Remember SamBrinton, the former senior Energy Department non-binary?  He’s been arrested again, this time as a “fugitive from justice” by police in Maryland.

** The United States should develop its own clean energy supply “soup to nuts” — but that doesn’t mean banning Chinese products, a top Biden administration official said Thursday. At POLITICO’s first-ever energy summit, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stressed the importance of U.S.-based manufacturing for an emerging industry that includes electric cars, batteries and solar panels. The idea is to create jobs, while shifting the pendulum away from Chinese-dominated clean energy markets.

** Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has canceled a scheduled hearing and pulled his support for President Biden’s nomination for a key renewable energy post, the latest salvo between him and the White House over fossil fuel policy. The Senate panel was set to consider the nomination of Jeff Marootian for assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy on Wednesday, but the vote has been removed from the committee’s agenda.

** California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday announced a $60 million agreement to welcome salmon and sturgeon back to the Yuba River for the first time more than a century. Together with state, federal and local officials, the governor unveiled a landmark agreement that will reopen miles of habitat to multiple fish species.

** Gov. Phil Murphy is hoping New Jersey will be the nation’s leading producer of wind energy by 2040, but a surge in whale deaths  and an unfounded link between the dead whales and wind energy is threatening to undermine those plans.

** Electric utilities are taking unprecedented steps to show that pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions are more than just empty slogans by linking executive bonus pay to climate initiatives, reported Politico. The tactic comes as influential investors are increasingly pushing for climate action and federal regulators are weighing a rule that would require utilities to disclose climate-related information.

** Dallas-based Pearl Energy Investments has closed a $705 million fund to target oil and gas opportunities, with management teams already focused on West Texas’ Permian Basin and Canada.

** A federal judge in Houston has dismissed criminal charges against a Swiss banker accused of helping stash millions in bribes paid to senior Venezuelan oil officials over long delays in bringing the case to trial. udge Kenneth Hoyt ruled Wednesday that unjustified trial delays violated Paulo Murta’s constitutional right to a speedy trial within 70 days of being charged.

** The climate rule that the Biden administration unveiled last week was even stronger than what the Environmental Protection Agency had originally drafted, six people familiar with the regulation told POLITICO’s E&E News — after White House officials pressed for a proposal that would take effect sooner and encompass a larger selection of power plants.



** Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp, the two largest U.S. fossil fuel companies, are seeking Australia’s backing for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen projects as they look to increase investment in a bid to slash intensity of carbon emissions.

** For the first time ever, global temperatures are now more likely than not to breach 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming within the next five years, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday.

** A South African town has been left fuming after a legal battle with a state-owned power utility forced its solar plant to dump desperately needed electricity in a country suffering a record energy crisis.