Daily digest

Maryland asks U.S. EPA to crack down on Midwest coal plant pollution

POLICY: A six-hour hearing Wednesday over a proposed massive energy bill in Illinois leaves clean energy groups divided due to the complex and vast mosaic of interests at play. (Midwest Energy News)

TRANSPORTATION: Several universities from the Midwest are selected by the federal government to make automated driving technology more fuel- and energy-efficient. (Midwest Energy News)

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EMISSIONS: Maryland officials ask the U.S. EPA to crack down on 19 coal plants from five states — including Indiana and Ohio — whose emissions lead to air pollution farther east. (Baltimore Sun)

PIPELINES: A federal judge likely won’t decide until early next year whether to give the Dakota Access pipeline developer permission to build a contentious portion of the project. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLES: Clean energy businesses ask Ohio Gov. John Kasich to oppose efforts to continue a freeze on clean energy standards there. (Columbus Business First) 

EFFICIENCY: Three Midwestern cities — St. Louis, Des Moines and St. Paul — join a nationwide program to reduce energy costs, lower emissions and boost local economies through building-efficiency projects. (St. Louis Business Journal)

GRID: Federal authorities approve a permit for a transmission line to move hydropower from Canada to Minnesota. (Duluth News Tribune)

SOLAR:
• A seven-megawatt solar project is set to come online early next month at the site of a former steel manufacturing site in Indiana. (Kokomo Tribune)
• Manufacturer First Solar plans to cut 1,600 jobs across its global workforce and idle an Ohio production facility for more than a year. (Toledo Blade)

FRAC SAND: Local officials in northeast Iowa vote to rezone nearly 750 acres of land to be used for frac sand mining. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

ECONOMY: Clean-energy sector jobs are expected to grow in Indiana, according to a new report. (WBOI)

OIL AND GAS:
• BP plans to lay off up to 80 employees at its northwest Indiana refinery amid a global slump in oil prices, the plant’s first significant cutbacks since the 1990s. (Northwest Indiana Times)
• Oil production in North Dakota continues to drop. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Crews are assessing the damage after a natural gas explosion kills one and injures several others in a central Illinois community. (Quad-City Times)
• North Dakota’s top oil and gas regulator and the head of the pipeline authority are confident they will remain in their posts under a new governors’ administration. (Bismark Tribune)

STORAGE: Grid operator MISO asks federal regulators to dismiss a complaint from an Indiana utility over energy storage rules. (RTO Insider)

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CLIMATE:
• The White House releases a “mid-century strategy” to slash carbon emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. (Washington Post)
• Climate advocacy groups report a spike in online donations following the election of Donald Trump. (Climate Central)

COMMENTARY:
• Minnesota dairy farmers are embracing clean energy to make their operations run more sustainably. (St. Cloud Times)
• Michigan lawmakers should go back to the drawing board on energy legislation following Donald Trump’s election victory. (Michigan Capitol Confidential)
• Illinois energy legislation should boost efficiency spending. (State Journal-Register)

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