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SOLAR: Financially troubled SolarWorld Americas receives a $6 million loan as it continues “to fight for fair trade in the U.S. market” alongside bankrupt solarmanufacturer Suniva. (Greentech Media)
CLIMATE:• Greenhouse gas emissions rose faster in 2016 than they have in nearly three decades, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, which ceased to mention a direct link between human activity and emissions. (New York Times)• Some Republican lawmakers are taking aim at the Defense Department’s work on climate change, sparking worry among former military officials. (Washington Post, ThinkProgress)• The House defeats an effort to strike a climate change amendment from the National Defense Authorization Act. (The Hill)• Climate scientists are facing a dilemma over whether to participate in an EPA-led debate over the merits of climate change. (E&E News)• Cities may be strengthening their commitments on climate change, but one expert says “there’s no data” to measure progress. (Greentech Media)• As Virginia considers ways to cut carbon emissions, including the possibility of joining a regional cap-and-trade system, the state’s largest utility has outlined its terms for supporting such a move. (Southeast Energy News)
POLITICS: U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry calls Mexico “a very, very important partner” on energy, as the two countries seek to strengthen energy ties before renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Associated Press)
REGULATION: An appeals court gives the EPA 14 more days to comply with an order to enforce Obama-era rules on methane leaks from oil and gas operations on public lands. (The Hill)
UTILITIES: Despite losses related to the Kemper and Vogtle projects, compensation for some of Southern Company’s top executives increased by more than one-third. (Utility Dive)
OIL & GAS:• About 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from an underground pipeline in Texas after a contractor accidentally cut the line. (Associated Press)• The U.S. is on track to export 650 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas annually by the end of 2022, making it the world’s second largest exporter of the fuel, according to the International Energy Agency. (Reuters)• The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will allow the Italian oil company Eni to explore for oil in federal waters off Alaska. (ThinkProgress)• The Trump administration announces its first offshore oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico with reduced royalty rates. (Reuters)• U.S. regulators fined Exxon Mobil about $165,000 for safety lapses associated with an explosion that injured four workers at a Louisiana refinery last year. (Reuters)
PIPELINES:• The Virginia Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold a controversial state law that allows natural gas companies to survey private property for a possible pipeline route without an owner’s consent. (Roanoke Times)• The Dakota Access pipeline developer has a standing offer to the state of North Dakota to help it pay for the law enforcement costs of protests. (Forum News Service)• The Trump administration denies North Dakota’s request for a “major disaster declaration” that would have helped pay for the law enforcement costs. (Associated Press)
COAL:• Spikes in West Virginia coal production are predicted to not last long-term. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)• The Tennessee Valley Authority found high levels of arsenic and other toxins in groundwater near Memphis where thousands of tons of coal ash are stored. (Associated Press)• Environmental groups file a lawsuit against a Kentucky Utilities power plant for illegally releasing coal ash pollutants into a recreational lake. (Associated Press)
NUCLEAR: Senators continue efforts to extend nuclear production tax credits as the fate of the long-delayed and over-budget Summer and Vogtle projects still remains uncertain. (E&E News)
COMMENTARY:• President Trump clearly doesn’t understand the value of wind energy, says a contributor at Forbes.• Extending California’s cap-and-trade program will be a critical leap forward for the United States, says a former EPA administrator and deputy EPA administrator. (Los Angeles Times)