ETHANOL: The U.S. EPA will launch an in-house investigation into whether the agency is properly accounting for the environmental benefits and drawbacks of requiring ethanol in gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard. (Reuters)

• The Obama administration blocks Alaskan Arctic drilling for the next two years, canceling auctions for drilling rights. (New York Times)
A federal judge has tossed a Pennsylvania township’s ordinance banning oil and gas operations. (Pittsburgh Business Times)
A new review of scientific literature shows fracking inevitably pollutes water and air and harms people. (Inside Climate News)

TRANSPORTATION: Recent trends of developing in dense urban areas closer to public transportation are spreading to the Midwest. (Midwest Energy News)

• The prospects for an emissions deal in Paris increase as 150 countries file pledges to curb them. (The Guardian)
The shipping industry bristles at the idea of a carbon tax or trading program to curb rising emissions. (ClimateWire)
A new report says rich nations aren’t doing their fair share to reduce carbon emissions. (Reuters)

• Federal regulators are close to issuing the first operational permits for a new reactor in 20 years. (Platts)
Up to 11 percent of the U.S.’s nuclear fleet is at risk of early retirement, potentially making Clean Power Plan compliance much more difficult. (Utility Dive)

EFFICIENCY: The costs of building sustainable housing in the Midwest continue to drop, which early adopters hope will encourage more property owners. (Pioneer Press)

LOBBYING: A federal inspector general’s report sheds more light on the intense lobbying efforts behind operating Sandia National Laboratories. (Greenwire)

PIPELINES: Despite the public outcry against Dakota Access, roughly two-thirds of landowners along its proposed path have signed easements allowing the company to build on their property. (The Gazette)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Texas’ power grid operator predicts far less of the state’s coal plants will need to close to comply with new federal carbon emissions rules. (Dallas Morning News)

• An analysis shows that despite ongoing legal challenges with federal pollution rules, utilities are largely staying the course and closing coal plants. (Utility Dive)
A former coal executive testifies that his company took shortcuts to produce more coal under CEO Don Blankenship. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Energy analysts say utilities are running out of time to plan for a future whose landscape is changing rapidly. (Forbes)

OIL BY RAIL: Track failure is at the heart of a growing safety problem for the industry. (Los Angeles Times)

• An analysis done on Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard “uses a statistical trick to inflate the economic impacts” of the rules. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Oregon’s clean-fuel standard helps tackle climate change and protect public health. (The Oregonian)

Andy compiles the Midwest Energy News digest and was a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News from 2014-2020. He is managing editor of MiBiz in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was formerly a reporter and editor at City Pulse, Lansing’s alternative newsweekly.

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