OVERSIGHT: Michael Regan draws on years of experience as a North Carolina environmental regulator as he prepares for today’s U.S. Senate hearings on his nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. (Coastal Review Online, E&E News, subscription)

• Demand for a Duke Energy solar rebate program far outstrips its availability, as the slots available in its fourth year filled up in fewer than three minutes. (Vxartnews)
• Mississippi regulators consider a proposal for a 175 MW solar facility, which would be the biggest in the state. (Delta Democrat-Times)
• Florida regulators approve five Duke Energy solar plants, each with a capacity of just under 75 MW. (Florida Politics)
• A Florida county pauses its consideration of a Florida Power & Light solar farm after residents express concern that it may jeopardize the area’s growing reputation as an ecotourism destination. (Jackson County Floridian)

• The Tennessee Valley Authority proposes replacing aging gas plants in Tennessee with six new natural gas combustion turbines at former coal plants in Kentucky and Alabama. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• A Texas state lawmaker files a bill to prevent local governments from banning or restricting natural gas in residential or commercial buildings. (KLTV)
• A natural gas company opens a control center that will support 3,000 miles of gathering, midstream and transmission pipeline across West Virginia. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)

NUCLEAR: The Tennessee Valley Authority seeks public comment on its plans to build at least one new nuclear reactor as part of a technology park at the Clinch River Nuclear Site in Tennessee. (WATE)

• The retirement of remaining coal-fired power plants will likely coincide with declining wholesale prices, experts say. (S&P Global)
• CSX reduces the size of its active locomotive fleet in West Virginia as the volume of coal it hauls drops by more than half since 2010. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)
• Construction on a road and bridge for an industrial park on a massive former West Virginia surface mine is delayed until this summer. (Coal Valley News)
• Virginia environmental regulators issue a notice of violation against Norfolk Southern for an October train derailment that spilled tons of coal into the Roanoke River. (Roanoke Times)

• A Florida climate coalition pushes a statewide clean-energy plan as a post-pandemic job creator and effective way to lower risks from climate change. (Florida Phoenix)
• Exxon Mobil pledges to spend $3 billion by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions, but its reliance on unproven carbon capture technology disappoints investors who hoped for a more meaningful strategic shift. (Bloomberg)

UTILITIES: An Alabama city hires Alabama Power for a $9.4 million project to upgrade its electricity, natural gas and water systems, but expects to save a net $113,000 in annual utility expenses, even after accounting for project costs. (Hoover Sun)

• An eastern Kentucky newspaper greets President Biden’s action on climate change with hope, but also skepticism that dwindling fossil fuel-related jobs will be replaced by new economic growth. (Appalachian News-Express)
• Louisiana U.S. Sen. John Kennedy uses a Fox News appearance touting the oil and gas industries to claim that his car is fueled by neither “fairy dust” nor “unicorn urine.” (Daily Beast)

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.