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Pump jacks are seen at dawn in an oil field near Lost Hills, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

California's public utilities commission approved a plan Thursday to expand the capacity of a key gas storage facility by more than 20%, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Despite aggressive moves in recent years to get away from reliance on fossil fuels, a spate of devastating wildfires amid ongoing drought threatens California's energy grid, causing the state falling back on natural gas.

  • California set a goal of producing electricity from only clean sources by 2045.
  • The move to expand the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility comes amid calls to shutter the site outright, per Reuters.

Context: The Aliso Canyon facility is the state's largest underground storage field.

What they're saying: "We continue to move forward on planning how to reduce or eliminate the use of Aliso Canyon, and to ultimately reduce our reliance entirely on such natural gas infrastructure as we transition to a clean energy economy," CPUC Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves said in a statement, per Reuters.

Go deeper

Biden asks FTC to investigate gas and oil companies for “illegal conduct”

President Biden speaking in front of a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., Nov. 16. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan Wednesday asking the agency to determine whether “illegal conduct” by large oil and gas companies is pushing up gasoline prices.

Why it matters: It's unlikely that the letter will bring down gas prices anytime soon, though an FTC investigation could clarify how such companies determine prices.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.