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Court stays EPA haze rule; Wall Street's outlook on NextEra unfazed

Q3: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Path to Carbon-Free Power Generation by 2035

The Growing Importance of Data Centers for European & U.S. Renewable Projects

CAISO and ERCOT Power Forecasts by the Hour


Court stays EPA haze rule; Wall Street's outlook on NextEra unfazed

Top news

TheU.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has stayed implementation the U.S.EPA's regional haze rule, finding the federal agency acted "arbitrarily,capriciously, and in excess of its statutory authority" in rejecting Texasand Oklahoma's state plans dealing with air quality at national parks andwilderness areas. Texas, energy companies and other groups on Feb. 29 sued theEPA for a review of the rule, arguing the federal plan would force electricityproducers to make costly and unnecessary upgrades to comply.

Onthe company's first-quarter 2016 earnings call April 28, Chairman and CEOJames Robo was asked about lingering plans to acquire . Robo,at the time, did not evince great interest: "We have a pretty tight screenon what we would be willing to do," he said. "There's no imperativefor us to do regulated M&A. We don't have to do it."

FERCis about to make decisions that will help set the course on how New Englandgets its energy. The commission must choose to support new natural gaspipelines, like Spectra EnergyCorp's Access Northeast project, or not, says Spectra executiveRichard Kruse. "Either this concept works or it doesn't," he said.

boostedproduction at its four coal mines by 10.7% in the latest quarter, according tofederal data analyzed by S&P Global Market Intelligence. U.S. Mine Safetyand Health Administration data shows that CONSOL, scheduled to report itssecond-quarter earnings on July 26 at 10 a.m., increased total production attwo of its four active coal mines during the period.

Power

*The latest in a number of casinos to unbundle from , Peppermill Casinos Inc. isseeking approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to purchaseelectricity from alternative energy providers, the LasVegas Sun reports. The move follows Switch Ltd.'s lawsuit against the Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary and the PUC overalleged discrimination in denying the company the ability to seek alternativeenergy supplies.

*U.S. District Court Judge William Smith dismissed a lawsuit against 's offshore windproject. The lawsuit that included the Rhode Island Manufacturers Associationas plaintiff had challenged National Grid plc subsidiary 's intent topurchase power from the facility citing cost concerns, The AssociatedPress reports.

*Presumed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is his message on energyto the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, likely repeating to cut federal regulationin a bid to achieve total U.S. energy independence. S&P Global MarketIntelligence spoke with a key Trump energy adviser, U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer,R-N.D., ahead of the GOP convention.

* Acoalition of business and environmental groups is askingstate regulators to reject SouthCarolina Electric & Gas Co.'s request to approve an $852million increase in the cost of building two new reactors at the nuclear plant inSouth Carolina. The Stop the Blank Check coalition is also advocating changesin the Base Load Review Act, which allows utilities to collect constructionfinance costs on nuclear construction projects prior to the completion of theplants.

*NRG Energy Inc. plansto sell $1 billion worth of senior notes due 2027 to help redeem all of itsoutstanding 8.25% senior notes due 2020 and a portion of its outstanding 7.875%senior notes due 2021, the company said in a statement.

*Indiana regulators have adopteda settlement that authorizes Northern Indiana Public Service Co. to increase monthlyelectric rates of its domestic customers by about 6%, or $5.70 — approximatelyhalf of NiSource Inc.subsidiary's original request. The new rates will go into effect on Octoberbills.

Natural gas/midstream

*North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has challenged the U.S. EPA'sfinal rule to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas industry sources,arguing that the rule is "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretionand not in accordance with law," TheHill in Washington, D.C., reported. The rule, which is expected toreduce 510,000 tonsof methane emissions in 2025, was challenged in the District of ColumbiaCircuit Court of Appeals.

*Kinder Morgan Inc.'saggressive pursuit of joint ventures and asset sale opportunities isrepositioning the company faster than anticipated and could be assoon as 2017, a trio of Barclays Capital Inc. analysts said July 18.

*The North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, or NC WARN, and twoother advocacy groups are questioning Duke Energy Corp.'s proposed of over therisks associated with the future natural gas price increases and new climateregulations, TheCharlotte (N.C.) Observerreports. The groups raised concerns over the deal at a hearing before NorthCarolina regulators. In response, the companies touted the benefits of the deal,saying the merger will not result in higher electric and gas rates and willinstead reduce bills for Piedmont customers by $10 million.

* has closed thesale of its noncoreoil and natural gas assets in Oklahoma and Kansas to an undisclosed buyer foran undisclosed sum, according to a company release.

*Tesoro Corp. and ParHawaii Refining have agreed to invest around $403 million to reduce emissionsat six refineries under a settlement announcedby the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. EPA. Tesoro will also spend about$12 million to fund environmental projects in local communities and pay a$10.45 million civil penalty.

*The Vancouver City (Wash.) Council has approved a measure that would ban futureoil storage, handling and refining in the city's industrial zones. Themove would block new proposals, including Tesoro Savage and NuStar oilterminals, which together seek to ship nearly 140 million barrels of crude oilper year through Northwest communities, Columbia Riverkeeper said in a release.

*Cheniere Energy Inc.plans to take offline its Sabine Pass LNG export facility in September forplanned maintenance, sources told Reuters.The facility exported 17 cargoes to date.

Coal

*As part of its efforts to avert a potential bankruptcy filing, is urging GoldmanSachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG to "loosen a rule" in theircredit facilities, Reutersreports. The rule relates to "the amount of debt the company owes as afunction of its profits," anonymous sources told the news outlet.

* Anunsecured creditor isdemanding a bankruptcy court stay the reorganization plan ofAlpha Natural ResourcesInc. over language that would release McKinsey Recovery andTransformation Service U.S. LLC from any guilt or wrongdoing with regards tothe proceedings.

Commodities

*As prices of crude oiland natural gas have held in a fairly sideways direction over the past week,smart money traders generally appear to have opted to stand aside waiting for newfundamental or technical drivers to push prices out of their recent tradingranges.

*Term power prices for August delivery had a mixed showing during the week ended July 15, despiteboth strong cooling demand associated with ongoing summer heat and increasedfueling costs related to gains in the natural gas futures complex.

*Following a 3.4-cent decline in the week's opening session to a settle at$2.722/MMBtu, August natural gas futures retraced higher overnight ahead of the Tuesday, July 19,open, as supportive weather-related demand expectations and shrinking stockoverhangs reflected more on values than the still-robust inventories poised toend the refill season at a record-high level.

*After nudging lower on Monday, next-day power values could be mixed with adownside biasTuesday, July 19, as predominantly declining demand forecasts for midweekcombine with recent sideways trading activity at the natural gas futurescomplex.

*Power and natural gas spot prices in the first half of 2016 declining year over year, comparedto prices for the first half of 2015.

New from RRA

*Over the last severalweeks, issues related to transmission planning and incentives, return on equityand mergers and acquisitions were prominent with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissionand industry stakeholders.

Quoted

"Ifwe have a wide open free market and the price of coal can't compete with theprice of natural gas and that's what drives coal out of business, well, there'snot a lot you can do about that," North Dakota Republican CongressmanKevin Cramer toldS&P Global Market Intelligence reporters.

The day ahead

*The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Western Organization ofResource Councils will hold a media teleconference at 1 p.m. ET urging Officeof Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement to protect working families andtaxpayers from self-bonded coal mines.

*Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. equitymarkets. To view more SNL equity market indexes, click here.To view more SNL Energy commodities prices, click here.