Energy Report Newsbites

States Sue Over New EPA Carbon Rule

In August, 22 states and seven cities, including Virginia and North Carolina, sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosens Obama-era restrictions on coal-fired power plants. The states behind the lawsuit all have Democratic attorney generals who claim the rule violates the federal Clean Air Act by undercutting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of power plants. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey calls the lawsuit a “power grab,” according to WOWK-TV. — Hannah McAlister

Co-op Members Condemn Board Actions

After Powell Valley Electric Cooperative’s Sept. 21 annual meeting, member-owners with co-op reform group PVEC Member Voices accused co-op leadership of mischaracterizing a proposed bylaw amendment before it was voted down by the membership. The amendment would have clarified members’ ability to attend and record board meetings, access minutes and address the board as a permanent right.

A PVEC attorney incorrectly told members that the amendment would lead to a rate increase, according to member-owner Bill Kornrich. When Kornrich attempted to speak, PVEC Board Chair Roger Ball disallowed further discussion. After Kornrich resubmitted a clarified amendment for a vote in 2020, Ball instead called for an immediate vote contrary to co-op procedure. The amendment failed. — K.R.

Clean Air Lawsuit Against North Carolina University

On Sept. 17, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club filed a notice of intent to sue the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for ongoing violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The infractions include using two outdated coal-burning boilers and exceeding federal air pollution limits. — Rachael Kelley

Report on Ohio Secret Fracking Chemicals

A report by Partnership for Policy Integrity discovered that between 2013 and 2018, Ohio gas and oil companies injected classified chemicals nearly 11,000 times into more than 1,400 wells. Ohio law does not require disclosure of chemicals deemed “trade secrets.” The report authors say this puts the public at risk and prevents first responders from preparing for chemical spills. — R.K.

New Power Plant Application Filed in West Virginia

In September, the owner of Longview Power in West Virginia applied to build a combined-cycle gas-fired power plant and a solar facility adjacent to its coal-fired plant. The gas-fired power plant would include a 6.2 mile-long, 20-inch-diameter gas pipeline. — R.K.

CSX Fined for West Virginia Oil Spill

In 2018, attorneys representing the United States, West Virginia and the W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection filed a complaint against CSX Transportation, Inc., for a train that derailed in 2015 and spilled oil into West Virginia waterways. A federal court granted a consent decree on Sept. 16, imposing a civil penalty of $2.2 million on CSX. — By R.K.

Emissions Control Devices Altered on Fracking Trucks

Between 2013 and 2016, five individuals admitted to altering emission control devices on heavy duty trucks used in Marcellus Shale gas fracking fields. On Aug. 21, Brian Mellott became the sixth to plead guilty. According to Patriot-News, the workers tampered with the emissions devices to reduce maintenance downtime and repair costs. — By R.K.

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