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Overnight Energy: California regulators vote to close nuclear plant | Watchdog expands Pruitt travel probe | Washington state seeks exemption from offshore drilling plan

Overnight Energy: California regulators vote to close nuclear plant | Watchdog expands Pruitt travel probe | Washington state seeks exemption from offshore drilling plan
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DIABLO CANYON ON TRACK TO CLOSE: California officials voted Thursday to approve the closing of the state's last remaining nuclear power plant.

All five members of the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s request to close the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County by 2025, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.

"With this timing in mind, and this decision today, we chart a new energy future," Commissioner Michael Picker said at the meeting, according to the Tribune. "We agree the time has come."

"It moves California away from the era of nuclear power and toward the era of zero-carbon renewable energy," said Commissioner Liane M. Randolph. "I will be voting in favor."

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PG&E asked in 2016 to close Diablo Canyon, arguing that it would not be economical to run it past 2025 when the federal license for the second of its two reactors expires and would require a renewal process.

Nuclear plants across the country have had trouble in recent years competing against cheap natural gas and renewables. Numerous plants have closed lately, including the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in southern California, which was the state's only other nuclear plant.

California regulators did not approve an $85 million settlement San Luis Obispo County had negotiated to help transition the community into life without the plant, including the tax base loss.

Read more here.

 

INSLEE WANTS OUT OF OFFSHORE DRILLING PLAN: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) joked Thursday that he may have to buy President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE a golf course on his state's shore to stop offshore drilling.

Inslee's remarks on CNN came shortly after he filed a formal request with Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeHUD official quits amid Interior Department watchdog controversy Overnight Energy: Outdoor retailer Patagonia makes first Senate endorsements | EPA withdraws Obama uranium milling rule | NASA chief sees 'no reason' to dismiss UN climate report Interior Department sued over withholding details on trophy permits, endangered species MORE to exempt his state from the administration's plans to expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling. Zinke did so Tuesday for Florida, where Trump owns the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

"We believe America deserves a president who will protect our beaches from sea to shining sea, not just those who have a political pal who's in trouble in a Senate race in Florida," Inslee told host Wolf Blitzer, referring to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

"I don't know, maybe I have to buy Donald Trump a golf course in Washington or something to get him to protect us," Inslee said.

Inslee has joined numerous coastal governors, both Republican and Democrat, in asking their states to be removed from Trump's plan, unveiled last week, to consider drilling nearly everywhere along the United States' coasts.

Read more here.

 

WATCHDOG EXPANDS PROBE INTO PRUITT'S TRAVEL: The Environmental Protection Agency's internal inspector general is again expanding its investigation into the travel habits of agency head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA puts science ‘transparency’ rule on back burner Tucker Carlson says he 'can't really' dine out anymore because people keep yelling at him Overnight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports MORE.

An internal memo dated Jan. 10 alerts the agency of the amendment to the investigation, which expands the dates of travel covered in the probe to include Pruitt's travel through the end of 2017. The memo noted that the decision to expand the probe came in response to "additional congressional requests."

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senators face Wednesday vote on Trump health plans rule | Trump officials plan downtime for ObamaCare website | Lawmakers push for action on reducing maternal deaths MORE (D-Del.) requested the investigation include Pruitt's December trip to Morocco, which reportedly cost $40,000 in taxpayer dollars.

In a Dec. 18 letter to the inspector general, Carper wrote that one purpose of Pruitt's trip was to promote natural gas exports and that the trip should be scrutinized because the EPA does not oversee natural gas.

The inspector general's memo notes that the objectives of the investigation remain the same: determining the "frequency, cost and extent" of Pruitt's travel and whether agency policies and procedures were followed.

Read more here.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

Attorneys for an Alaska moose hunter are taking his case regarding hovercraft use in a national park to the Supreme Court for a second time, the Fairbanks News Miner reports.

BP is paying California $102 million to settle claims it overcharged the state for natural gas, the Associated Press reports.

A new study concluded that rat poison from marijuana farms is hurting the northern spotted owl, the Los Angeles Times reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check Thursday's stories ...

- California approves closure of last nuclear power plant

- Wash. gov jokes about buying Trump a golf course to stop offshore drilling

- GOP chairman slams federal agency involved in Cliven Bundy case

- EPA inspector general further expands probe into Pruitt travel

- Zinke announces plan for massive reorganization of Interior Dept.