The Center for Biological Diversity and a group of 26 scientists, including many university professors, urged California Gov. Jerry Brown to halt approvals of new fossil fuels projects in the state and commit to a plan to phase out the state's reliance on oil and natural gas. In a letter dated July 12, the scientists called for Brown, a Democrat, to shut down 8,500 active oil and gas wells located within 2,500 feet of homes, schools and hospitals, among other things.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) is seeking additional information on the pending $5.3 billion merger of Spokane, WA-based Avista Corp. and Toronto-based Hydro One Ltd. The UTC is asking for the merger partners to file comments on governance changes. Hydro One is Ontario’s largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with 1.3 million customers, and Avista serves eastern Washington and parts of Idaho and Oregon.

The California Department of Conservation has created an oil and gas enforcement unit within the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources under new budget authorization for the fiscal 2018-19 state budget. The enforcement unit may issue civil penalties per day of up to $25,000/violation. WellSTAR, new data tracking/reporting technology, would help the state identify violations and track compliance. WellSTAR includes information on enforcement actions and a portal allowing citizens to file complaints about suspected violations.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Utah has opened a scoping period through July 31 for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to evaluate a proposed oil and gas lease sale for 330,000 acres of federal land. The lease sale is tentatively scheduled for December. Information and scoping comments are available at BLM's National NEPA Register project page.

Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), is selling its natural gas solutions (NGS) business, part of the turbomachinery and process solutions segment, in two separate agreements for a total of $375 million. The NGS product line is being sold to First Reserve in a transaction that includes three manufacturing sites in North America and the UK, as well as transferring 450 employees in eight countries. Separately, the Talamona, Italy branch of the NGS product line, which includes a manufacturing site, is being sold to Pietro Fiorentini SpA. Forty employees in Talamona also would be transferred. Both transactions are expected to close by the end of the year.

Oklahoma City-based Chaparral Energy Inc. is transferring its Class A common stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) from the OTCQB effective Tuesday (July 24). It will trade under “CHAP.” The “uplisting to the NYSE marks another historic milestone for our company,” said CEO Earl Reynolds. In the past 18 months, he noted, the independent has completed a strategic shift to become a pure-play Oklahoma producer focused on the Sooner Trend of the Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties, i.e. the STACK.