Energy news headlines

** An oil and gas industry trade group, the state of Louisiana and Chevron on Thursday sued the Biden administration over its decision to withdraw acreage from an upcoming oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico to protect an endangered whale. The suit is the latest dispute between the oil and gas industry and the administration of President Joe Biden over leasing federal lands and waters for energy development.

** The United Auto Workers and Ultium Cells LLC have reached a tentative agreement on wages at the battery cell plant in northeast Ohio that would provide an immediate, across-the-board wage increase and back pay for those who qualify, if the hourly workforce ratifies it.

** A group of Tesla Inc. investors stands to recover an average of about $12,000 a head for losses they incurred from Elon Musk’s famous 2018 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take the carmaker private at $420 a share — and then didn’t.

** A California judge on Thursday rejected an environmental group’s lawsuit that sought to block the state’s largest utility from seeking to extend the operating life of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Friends of the Earth sued in state Superior Court in April, hoping to derail a state-backed proposal to keep the twin-domed plant running for at least five additional years.

** Energy savings from electric utilities’ efficiency programs for customers have stagnated in recent years, according to the Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The Scorecard evaluates 53 of the largest U.S. electric utilities on their incentive and other programs for energy-saving improvements and finds that energy savings dropped 5.4% between 2018 and 2021.

** Maui County sues Hawaiian Electric over the deadly fires there, saying the utility failed to shut off power during high winds and dry conditions.

** Lawyers representing victims of the Maui wildfires accuse Hawaiian Electric of compromising the investigation into the blaze by removing damaged utility equipment from the suspected ignition point.

** A first of its kind study finds that North Dakota farmers’ switch to corn and soybean crops for biofuel production created more negative responses from grassland birds than oil and gas development.

** The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to release an environmental study this fall on the Dakota Access pipeline, which has continued to operate but faces opposition from tribes concerned about a potential spill.


** A new study found that a vast majority of so-called “eco-friendly” paper straws contain more toxic “forever chemicals” than plastic straws. European researchers examined 39 brands of straws available in Belgian stores.

** Eighty percent of all new cars in Norway are electric,but a growing demand for larger vehicles is buoying gasoline sales in the Scandinavian nation.

** Japan began releasing wastewater from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday despite angry opposition from China and local fishermen. The start of the discharge of around 540 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water over several decades is a big step in decommissioning the still highly dangerous site 12 years after one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents.

** Saudi Arabia is considering a Chinese bid to build it a nuclear power plant, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, a decision that could derail U.S. plans in the kingdom

** U.S. climate envoy John Kerry called on countries on Thursday to take a “more critical step” in tackling climate change by stopping any new unabated coal-fired power, just over three months before U.N.-sponsored climate talks begin in Dubai. Pointedly reminding an audience in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh that the United States and China had agreed two years ago there should be no more foreign financing of coal-fired power plants, Kerry said it was time to go further.

** US officials privately acknowledge they’ve gradually relaxed some enforcement of sanctions on Iranian oil sales. Tehran has restored production to the highest level since the ban kicked in five years ago and is shipping its most crude to China in a decade. Iranian officials are confident they’ll pump even more soon.

** Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices eased from five-month highs, after workers at Australia’s Woodside Energy ruled out the possibility of striking work, bringing some calm to a market hit by extreme volatility in recent days.