Energy briefs

** Elon Musk’s Tesla is not the only electric vehicle company laying off workers en masse; one of its rivals, Lucid, announced last week that it’s laying off about 400 people, SFGate reports, more than a year after another round of layoffs that saw 1,300 people get the boot.

** An Iowa Republican congressional candidate says the government should phase out federal ethanol mandates, saying he supports the industry but that it should “stand up on its own two feet.”

** Developers prepare to begin clearing thousands of protected Joshua trees in southern California to make way for a utility-scale solar installation, drawing protests from advocates and residents.

** Environmental groups sue the Biden administration over its conclusion that an 800-mile liquefied natural gas export pipeline in Alaska would not harm polar bears or whales.

** The federal Bureau of Land Management reaffirms 51 Trump-era oil and gas leases in Utah following environmentalists’ lawsuit looking to overturn them.

** The Biden administration has proposed significant future lease restrictions in a major United States coal mining region in an attempt to reduce toxic air pollution. According to the proposal, coal mines will soon no longer be able to lease from government land reserves in the Powder River Basin area in Wyoming and Montana, reported the Guardian. It’s a plan that would ideally result in cleaner air, fewer health risks, and even a likely economic boost.

** Michigan Democrats are poised to pass legislation aimed at attracting big-tech data centers, but opponents say the bills would destroy nation-leading climate laws the same legislators approved in November because the centers consume massive amounts of electricity.


** Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda apologized Monday for massive cheating on certification tests for seven vehicle models as the automaker suspended production of three of them. The wide-ranging faulty testing at Japan’s top automaker involved the use of inadequate or outdated data in collision tests, and incorrect testing of airbag inflation and rear-seat damage in crashes.

** A cargo ship that was struck by five missiles launched by Yemen’s Houthis was carrying grain destined for Iran, the group’s main backers, it has emerged. The Laax, a Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, was attacked on Tuesday during an hours-long assault.