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Court dismisses final challenges to Mountain Valley Pipeline challenges

Jun 20, 2023

PIPELINES: A federal court dismisses challenges to the Mountain Valley Pipeline after Congress passed a law to force its completion, even as two of three judges question the shifting balance in legislative and judicial power. (Cardinal News)

ALSO: Environmentalists press Mountain Valley Pipeline construction crews to inspect the integrity of pipe sections that sat exposed to sunlight and potentially corrosion for years while legal and political battles played out. (Roanoke Times)

SOLAR:• A Georgia nonprofit installs solar panels along an 18-mile highway stretch, becoming a model for similar projects in Florida and other states. (Ledger-Enquirer)• A 180 MW Arkansas solar farm will provide 120 MW of power to Amazon and the rest to utilities. (Arkansas Business)

CARBON CAPTURE: Louisiana environmentalists scoff at federal officials’ award of more than $1 billion to carbon capture projects in Louisiana and Texas, which they say is risky and encourages fossil fuel companies to continue the status quo. (Guardian, Grist)

TRANSITION: Clean energy advocates point to an energy storage company’s construction of a West Virginia factory as a sign of how climate policies can rejuvenate deindustrialized coal and steel communities with green jobs. (Guardian)

COAL:• Data reveals higher rates of asthma and lower life expectancy among residents who live near West Virginia coal-fired power plants, even as state leaders fight a proposed U.S. EPA rule to strengthen carbon pollution standards for power plants. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)• Medical and black lung organizations hail a proposal to provide more protection against silica dust exposure, but complain it lacks teeth and criticize its reliance on mining companies to conduct testing. (Virginia Mercury)

EMISSIONS: The U.S. EPA considers haze reduction regulations for Texas that would require six coal-fired power plants to reduce their sulfur dioxide emissions. (Inside Climate News)

GRID: Texas’ electric grid has held up through extreme summer heat waves because of factors that include a diversity of power sources and rapidly growing amounts of solar and wind. (USA Today, Business Insider)

UTILITIES: The president of an Arkansas electric cooperative questions the reliability of renewables on the grid and calls for the U.S. EPA’s proposed power plant restrictions to be struck down. (Arkansas Business)

CLIMATE:• Residents of the Southeast and elsewhere struggle to pay electric bills inflated by air conditioner use during recent heat waves, and federal aid to help reaches only a fraction of the people who need it. (Associated Press)• A group that represents North Carolina’s insurance industry wants to increase the cost of new and renewing policies by more than half, with higher spikes proposed for coastal areas more vulnerable to climate change. (Wilmington StarNews)• Government and academic groups and diving rescue crews mobilize to save coral off the coast of Florida from a historic bleaching event due to high ocean temperatures. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:• Jacksonville, Florida’s municipal utility must take meaningful steps to address climate change by shifting away from natural gas and coal and investing more in renewables, writes a professor. (Florida Times-Union)• A Florida lawmaker calls on Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature to get serious about climate change as part of its approach to managing soaring insurance rates. (Orlando Sentinel)

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Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.