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The Trump administration's $4.8-trillion fiscal year 2021 budget request revived for the fourth year in a row a proposal to sell the transmission assets of three power-marketing administrations, an idea denounced by public-power groups and likely again to receive a cold shoulder in Congress. Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomed news that the Justice Department had dropped an antitrust probe of automakers that made a tailpipe emissions agreement with the state. Trump picks Danly for FERC, and Menezes and Benevento to be No. 2 executives at DOE and EPA.

The federal pipeline safety agency on Feb. 6 proposed requiring installation of remote-controlled or automatic shut-off valves on new and replacement gas and hazardous-liquids pipelines over 6 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management finalized management plans for federal lands removed from two national monuments in Utah, opening about three-fourths of the acreage to fossil-energy and mineral leases.

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Washington Democrats are taking full advantage of their majorities in both state chambers to advance their climate agenda in the Legislature's short, 60-day session, including a quick turnaround on bills meant to save Gov. Jay Inslee's Clean Air Rule for regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

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The prime sponsor of last year's landmark Clean Energy Transformation Act, Washington Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), has joined with two members of the Republican caucus to tinker with CETA's grid reliability provisions, citing concerns that resource inadequacy might come sooner than expected.

The Trump administration on Jan. 23 finalized a regulation replacing the 2015 "Waters of the U.S." rule, which the administration repealed last year. Meanwhile, Bernard McNamee said he won't seek reappointment to FERC when his term expires June 30, but might stay on to preserve FERC's quorum. California sues BLM over hydraulic fracturing.

Democrats in Washington's Legislature got off to a running start with passage of a "zero-emissions" vehicle standard in the Senate nearly along party lines, just two days after the 60-day "short" legislative session started Jan. 15.

The Department of Energy finalized a "process" regulation on Jan. 15 it said would streamline rulemakings for energy-efficiency standards, but the rule is likely to face litigation from opponents. Meanwhile, the Trump administration's proposed rule revising tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions limits was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review, bringing it a step closer to finalization. Trade groups drop suit challenging California lighting standards.

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The haze emission-reduction system at TransAlta's coal-fired Centralia power plant—central to a 2011 agreement with the State of Washington to shut the plant down by 2025—has been unable to meet mandated performance standards until recently.

A 2.2-percent reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions for the year just ended was forecast Dec. 30 by the Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, NERC projected reserve margins would be adequate for meeting peak demand throughout the 2020s in most of the U.S. and Canada, including the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Efficiency advocates pan DOE decision rejecting tighter efficiency standards for general-service incandescent lighting.

Pacific Gas & Electric will need to use public-safety power shut-offs for about five more years before improvements in system technology and vegetation management allow the utility to largely stop the practice as a safety measure in connection with wildfires, PG&E Corp. CEO Bill Johnson told a Senate hearing Dec. 19. Meanwhile, DOE rejected tightening efficiency standards for Type A incandescent lamps. Congress passes 2020 budget legislation extending energy tax preferences, boosting energy research funding.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Dec. 12 sent five energy bills to the Senate floor on voice votes, including legislation authorizing competitive grants for efficiency upgrades and renewable-energy projects at K-12 schools. Meanwhile, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory report projected dramatic cost reductions for Oregon offshore wind by 2032. Brouillette sworn in as DOE secretary.

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Three small Northwest utilities were among more than a dozen hit by recent cyberattacks targeting small electric utilities. While none of the attacks apparently succeeded, they highlight two of the weakest links in the industry's cybersecurity defenses: small, resource-strapped electric util…

A federal trade court on Dec. 5 issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration's withdrawal of a tariff exemption for imported bifacial solar-photovoltaic panels. Meanwhile, a solar industry group issued a report estimating tariffs have resulted in 10.5 GW of "lost solar development." House panel moves pumped-storage bill with amended language affecting permitting of the proposed Banks Lake project.

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A group of electric utilities on Nov. 25 filed suit challenging the Trump administration's rule blocking California from setting its own tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero-emission vehicle sales mandates. Meanwhile, Western utility groups urged the U.S. Forest Service to adopt regulations to streamline vegetation management in rights of way crossing federal lands. U.N. issues "bleak" GHG emissions report and Moniz calls for broad climate solutions.

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BPA ended fiscal year 2019 barely missing its financial targets for total revenues and expenses, and affirmed that a 1.5 percent, $30 million Financial Reserves Policy surcharge would be applied to power rates during FY 2020.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 19 reported out the nominations of Dan Brouillette to head the Department of Energy and James Danly to fill a FERC vacancy. Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported out bills authorizing DOE to develop interim nuclear waste storage facilities and reinstating regulations limiting methane emissions from gas pipelines. House Ways and Means Committee floats bill extending renewables, efficiency tax preferences.

President Donald Trump on Nov. 7 nominated Dan Brouillette, the Department of Energy's No. 2 executive, to succeed outgoing DOE Secretary Rick Perry. Meanwhile, states and environmental organizations sued DOE to challenge its rule dropping exemptions of specialty incandescent lamps from efficiency standards. Senate Democrats raise concerns about politicization of FERC at confirmation hearing for nominee James Danly.

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California utilities were restoring power to hundreds of thousands of customer accounts Oct. 31, after another week of high winds, power outages and wildfires sent residents scrambling and led to a step-up in response efforts from state officials.

NorthWestern Energy reported net income of $21.7 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2019. That compares to $28.2 million, or 56 cents per diluted share, during the same period in 2018. The company credited the $6.5 million drop to higher operating costs, mild we…

A split between automakers on regulating tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions broke into the open Oct. 31 when a coalition of manufacturers including Toyota, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler formally moved to intervene on the Trump administration's side in litigation against the administration's revocation of California's authority to set its own GHG standards and sales requirements for electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles. Meanwhile, Rep. Greg Walden, ranking Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he won't seek re-election in 2020. House passes bills to bar uranium mining claims near Grand Canyon, prohibit oil and gas leases around Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

A federal appeals court on Oct. 25 rejected California’s challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s first step toward revising tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards. Meanwhile, the Justice Department on Oct. 23 sued California and top state officials, alleging that the state's agreement with Quebec on greenhouse gas emissions trading violates the U.S. Constitution. Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposed a 10-year, $454 billion plan to pay Americans to buy electric vehicles and increase charging infrastructure.

President Donald Trump on Oct. 18 indicated via ­Twitter that he would nominate Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to succeed Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who on Oct. 17 said he will resign at an unspecified date later this year, bringing to an end a tenure shadowed in the last few weeks by his part in the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine officials. PHMSA falling behind on gas storage inspections, GAO reports.

A federal appeals court on Oct. 10 upheld a 2018 lower-court ruling ordering the Energy Department to publish four final energy-efficiency standards in the Federal Register. Meanwhile, three House committees subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry in connection with an impeachment inquiry, ordering him to turn over documents involving his interactions with Ukrainian ­officials.

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BPA moved a step closer to joining the Western EIM on Sept. 26, by signing an implementation agreement with the California ISO that will allow the agency to further consider participating in the market.