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Offshore drilling plans paused amid rising political stakes

OFFSHORE DRILLING: The Trump administration backs off plans to expand offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic after a recent ruling by a federal judge in Alaska. (New York Times)

ALSO: The offshore drilling plan had also emerged as a political liability for Trumpin the Southeast ahead of the 2020 election. (ThinkProgress)

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OIL & GAS:
• The Trump administration releases plans to reopen more than a million acres of public and private land in California to fracking. (Los Angeles Times)
• Republican Congressman Scott Perry told a Pennsylvania audience that natural gas has been the “Green New Deal of the last 10 to 15 years.” (The Sentinel)
• The EPA has told two environmental organizations it will not update regulationsfor wastewater coming from oil and gas extraction. (DeSmog)
• Alaska’s governor tells President Trump in a letter that “career employees” of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are trying to “undermine” efforts to open a national wildlife refuge to drilling. (Anchorage Daily News)

PIPELINES:
• Union Hill, Virginia, residents continue to pressure Gov. Ralph Northam to stop an Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station from being built in the predominantly black community. (The Nation)
• The Dakota Access pipeline’s developer bought dozens of website URLs in 2017 it feared opponents would use to discredit its projects. (Huffington Post)

COAL:
• Efforts to stop an Indiana utility from closing coal plants aren’t going the way the coal industry had hoped as economics point to more renewables. (InsideClimate News)
• An Oregon utility could save its customers $248 million over 20 years if it closes four units at two Wyoming coal plants by 2022, according to new economic analysis. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

SOLAR:
• MidAmerican Energy, known for its commitment to wind power, is leading the effort in Iowa to dismantle solar net metering. (Associated Press)
• A North Carolina county approves plans to turn an abandoned golf course into a solar farm. (Gaston Gazette)
• Tesla’s residential solar business continued its rapid decline in the first quarter.(Buffalo Business First)

STORAGE: A Southern California utility taps several storage projects to serve a coastal city instead of a gas peaker plant it previously selected. (Greentech Media)

WIND: New research shows huge potential for offshore wind along the Mid-Atlantic coast, but a large transmission build-out would be needed. (RTO Insider)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A study by a public-private partnership says a surge in electric vehicle sales is expected in the Northeast as 63% of Millennials say they are considering buying one. (NH Business Review)
• Iowa regulators clarify that electric vehicle charging stations are not considered public utilities under state law, and therefore utilities can’t restrict how power is sold at them. (Utility Dive)

POLICY: The Minnesota House passes an omnibus energy bill calling for 100 percent carbon-free power production by 2050, though the bill faces an uncertain future in the Republican-held Senate. (PV Magazine)

UTILITIES:
• Wisconsin’s We Energies is the latest utility to leave a group that lobbied on behalf of coal-burning utilities against Obama-era air regulations. (Politico)
• Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell outlines the utility’s plan to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2030. (VPR)

EFFICIENCY: Engineering experts discuss ways building owners can achieve net zero emissions through energy efficiency and renewables. (Energy News Network)

POLITICS:
• South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham joins his Democratic counterparts in calling for action on climate change. (Dallas Business Journal, subscription)
• Beto O’Rourke says he would be willing to consider a moratorium on drilling on federal lands to combat climate change if elected president. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• An environmental group says a University of Chicago study that said renewable energy standards led to high compliance costs used out-of-date data that failed to capture the price declines over the past four years. (Natural Resources Defense Council)
• Outdated policies and bureaucratic red tape make going solar nearly impossible in South Carolina, writes a Love’s Travel Stops executive. (Energy News Network)