Daily digest

Federal government to open Ohio national forest to oil, gas leases

FRACKING: The federal government plans to auction oil and gas lease rights for 1,600 acres of national forest property in Ohio, which could lead to fracking on public land. (Columbus Dispatch)

UTILITIES:
• Critics say the latest “bailout” approved for FirstEnergy by Ohio regulators essentially rewards the company for bad bets it made on coal and raises questions about corporate separation in the electric market. (Midwest Energy News)
• Illinois’ attorney general warns South Side Chicago residents about ongoing scams by some alternative energy suppliers to get customers to sign up with them. (CBS Chicago)

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EMISSIONS: In a victory for Murray Energy, a federal judge orders the U.S. EPA to evaluate the effect its Clean Air Act enforcement has had on the coal industry. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

WIND: Wind energy companies in Indiana are slowing or stopping their turbines at night to mitigate the deaths of bats during migration season. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Local officials approve plans to turn a former Wisconsin landfill into a community solar project. (WEAU)

TRANSMISSION: The proposed Grain Belt Express Clean Line transmission project appears to be making progress with Missouri regulators. (Missouri Times)

RENEWABLES:
• A Missouri city is recognized by the U.S. EPA as a national leader in renewable energy usage. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• Is it OK that Ohio gets only 2 percent of electric generation from renewables? (Cincinnati Enquirer)

BIOFUELS: Wisconsin researchers engineer a new “super yeast” that could boost the economics of making ethanol and specialty biofuels. (Biofuels Digest)

COAL: Rising natural gas prices will not bring much relief to the struggling U.S. coal market in the short term, according to the latest federal analysis. (SNL)

PIPELINES:
• A judge throws out riot charges against Democracy Now reporter Amy Goodman following her coverage of Dakota Access pipeline protests. (Grist)
• Authorities suspect arson in the latest burning of heavy equipment being used to construct the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: An Ohio mall looks to borrow $3 million from its county to finance energy efficiency improvements. (Dayton Business Journal)

VOLKSWAGEN SCANDAL: Missouri becomes the 17th state to take legal action against Volkswagen over the company’s cheating on diesel emissions. (Reuters)

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POLITICS: Oil and gas executives are pouring money into supporting Republicans in Congress in this year’s election but are largely sitting out the presidential race. (EnergyWire)

COMMENTARY:
• FirstEnergy appears to have been given a “cash grab” by Ohio regulators with no requirement to make upgrades to the grid. (Toledo Blade)
• Michigan school districts could lose out on millions of dollars in electricity savings under a proposal that would “gut” electric choice statewide. (MLive)
• An analysis by Michigan officials on using energy efficiency in Clean Power Plan compliance fails to shed light on the role renewables could play and minimizes the risk of overreliance on natural gas. (Union of Concerned Scientists)

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