POLLUTION: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler declines to implement tougher soot standards, despite a staff report projecting thousands of premature deaths, particularly in minority communities, could be prevented. (Associated Press) 

Advocates say federal rejection of a New England grid policy to lock in prices for new resources will harm the development of energy storage in the region. (Energy News Network)
• A California startup secures a $100 million investment to fund a “virtual power plant” demand response program that will pay consumers to save energy at times of peak demand. (Fast Company)

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ELECTRIFICATION: Massachusetts towns ask the state legislature to overrule the attorney general who says local laws to ban natural gas in new construction are not allowed under current statutes. (E&E News, subscription)

The Biden administration is considering an infrastructure initiative to boost the economy and advance climate goals. (The Hill)
The Federal Highway Administration has not acted on New York City’s congestion pricing proposal after more than a year and a half, with one advocate saying “there’s no question that it’s being held up for political purposes.” (InsideClimate News)

The next round of EV charging station grants under Minnesota’s Volkwagen settlement will prioritize projects that are paired with solar panels or other local clean energy generation. (Energy News Network)
Consumer advocates say Xcel Energy’s proposed $30 million electric vehicle rebate program “was filed at the last minute” and is unclear on who benefits and who pays. (Colorado Sun)

Alliant Energy begins offering shares in its first community solar project, a 1 MW installation in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• Illinois regulators provide a new calculation that restores full retail net metering for Ameren customers within three weeks. (Utility Dive)

Congressional Democrats say the Bureau of Land Management’s push for Arctic oil leasing may violate its own regulations, and advocates say the Trump administration is disregarding studies showing potential wildlife impacts. (The Hill)
A federal court rules the Trump administration “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in its 2018 approval of an Arctic drilling project without considering emissions impacts. (Anchorage Daily News) 

• West Virginia regulators rewrite state environmental rules for a second time to facilitate construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline after a federal court ruling freezes its permit to cross waterways. (Mountain State Spotlight/ProPublica)
• Opponents say an influx of hundreds of workers on the Line 3 pipeline across northern Minnesota could accelerate the spread of COVID-19 and strain health care facilities. (MinnPost)

Nestle, the world’s largest food conglomerate, pledges to spend more than $3.5 billion to further its goal of net zero emissions by 2050. (Reuters)
A new report says the climate impact of liquified natural gas exports will be comparable to that of coal over the next 20 years. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY: Advocates say improved data collection could help the Biden administration advance environmental justice goals. (Vox)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.