Energy & Environment

A line of train cars filled with coal

Western lands fight erupts over Bureau of Land Management’s conservation proposal

BY: - May 29, 2023

One thing opponents and proponents of a recently proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule agree on: It would be a major shift in how the agency manages nearly 250 million acres of federal lands. The rule would allow for conservation leases, similar to how the agency auctions off parcels of land for mining, livestock […]

In the foreground, sandals and flip flops. In the background, people in shorts in a water park trying to get relief from heat.

With summer coming fast, regulator issues electric reliability warning

BY: - May 20, 2023

As much as two thirds of North America could face shortages of electricity this summer in the event of severe and protracted heat, according to the regulator in charge of setting and enforcing standards for the electric grid.  “Increased, rapid deployment of wind, solar and batteries have made a positive impact,” said Mark Olson, manager […]

Solar panels in a field with colorful autumn trees in background

Overhaul federal permitting as part of the debt limit deal? Not as easy as it sounds

BY: - May 19, 2023

Congressional leaders negotiating a deal to avoid a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt are talking about including an overhaul of how the federal government reviews projects for their environmental impact. There is bipartisan support for changes to the lengthy environmental approval process among climate-minded Democrats eager to speed construction of renewable energy projects, as […]

Alabama Senate votes to ban government contracts with firms opposed to firearms, fossil fuels

BY: - May 18, 2023

The Alabama Senate Thursday approved a bill that would prevent state entities from contracting with companies that refuse to do business with fossil fuel producers, firearm manufacturers, companies do not “facilitate” access to abortion or gender-affirming care and other entities.  SB 261 passed 27-8 on a party line vote after a roughly two-hour debate where […]

Three windmills standing in a clear blue sky. A wheat field can be seen in the foreground.

Rural electric co-ops to get $10.7B in USDA funds for clean energy grants, loans

BY: - May 16, 2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin to administer two loan and grant programs worth nearly $11 billion to boost clean energy systems in rural areas, administration officials said Tuesday. Congress approved the federal spending — $9.7 billion for a grant and loan program the department is calling the New Empowering Rural America program, or […]

A coal plant sends smoke from its smokestacks into the air.

EPA again proposes power plant carbon rules

BY: - May 15, 2023

The Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan — intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants — was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Trump administration’s much-criticized replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, derided as a “tortured series of misreadings” of the U.S. Clean Air Act, was also tossed by a federal court. […]

White smoke arises from three visible smokestacks. Transmission lines can be seen in the background.

In the Southeast, where big utilities rule, calls for a real power market persist

BY: - May 8, 2023

A report prepared for the South Carolina state legislature and released on April 28 determined that a range of electric market and transmission reforms — including creating a new independent organization to run the electric grid or joining an existing one — would bring “substantial benefits” for customers, potentially as much as $362 million a […]

A barge floats near a bank on the Mississippi River. A suspension b ridge can be seen in the background.

Spring brings commerce, concerns for states along Mississippi River

BY: - April 3, 2023

DUBUQUE, Iowa — As Old Man River slowly awakens from its winter slumber, eagles work the edges of the opening channels and marina docks groan as the slow current wrestles the ice. Anglers — and an occasional whitetail deer — tread cautiously on the big river. Just like any other early spring on the Upper […]

A coal plant sends smoke from its smokestacks into the air.

U.S. House passes sweeping energy bill pushing back against Biden climate policies

BY: - March 30, 2023

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Thursday approved a bill packed with Republican energy priorities meant to counteract the Biden administration’s approach and boost U.S. oil and gas production. Numbered H.R. 1 as a signal that energy policy is the House majority’s top legislative priority, the bill includes a package of GOP proposals, ranging from […]

Three windmills standing in a clear blue sky. A wheat field can be seen in the foreground.

Here’s where renewable power is increasing (and where it’s not)

BY: - March 28, 2023

Despite supply-chain problems amid the lingering effects of the pandemic, 2022 saw major increases in solar and wind power in the United States, though that growth varied by state, according to a report released last month by a nonprofit focused on climate change. Nationally, electricity generated from solar and wind grew 16% from 2021, with […]

A gray pipe feeds into a meter with a series of numbered dials on it.

Gas plants failed in last winter’s storm. Utilities want to build more of them

BY: - March 20, 2023

The warnings to residents in the Southeast came right before Christmas: delay washing clothes or running the dishwasher, and curb hot water use until the bitterly cold temperatures eased up. It still wasn’t enough for two of the nation’s largest electric utilities. As temperatures plummeted to 40F (4.4C) in a few hours and gale force […]

The tail of a whale surfaced over an ocean.

Right whales vs. commercial fishing: no ‘easy solution’ for NOAA, says Raimondo

BY: - March 15, 2023

Once hunted to near-extinction, the greatest threats to the endangered North Atlantic right whale now are accidental encounters with humans. Federal efforts to protect the whale species, which spends most of the year off the coast of New England, from collisions with ships and entanglements in fishing gear — incidents that represent the two leading […]