EFFICIENCY: Ohio’s consumer advocate asks state regulators to divert funding from energy efficiency programs into bill payment assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, but critics say the move would be short-sighted. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota are among 13 states and environmental groups separately suing the Trump administration over energy efficiency rollbacks for appliances. (The Hill)

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COAL:
• A developer apologizes after a coal plant smokestack demolition released dust throughout Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood while city aldermen seek to regain control over the permitting process. (Chicago Sun-Times)
• While Consumers Energy plans more coal plant retirements in Michigan along the Great Lakes, toxic coal ash will remain stored at sites indefinitely. (MLive)
• Murray Energy is negotiating to resolve lenders’ allegations that the company breached its $450 million bankruptcy financing package. (Wall Street Journal, subscription)

SOLAR:
• County officials in northwestern Indiana advance plans for a 1,400-acre solar project. (Chicago Tribune)
• Another northwestern Indiana county approves zoning and development changes to allow for large-scale solar projects on farmland. (Times of Northwest Indiana)

OIL & GAS:
• Up to 8,000 North Dakota oil patch workers could lose their jobs as production declines due to the global price crash. (Star Tribune)
• In February, prior to the spread of COVID-19, North Dakota saw a slight increase in oil and a slight decrease in natural gas production while flaring was above targets. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Wisconsin utilities seek permission to recover pandemic-related costs and foregone revenue after the COVID-19 crisis is over. (Wisconsin State Journal)

BIOFUELS:
• Iowa’s U.S. senators call on the USDA to provide aid for ethanol producers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. (Radio Iowa)
• Renewable fuels advocates expect the fight with small oil refiners over waivers from federal biofuel blending requirements to continue. (E&E News, subscription)

PIPELINES: Work continues on a $20 million project to replace the Line 5 pipeline beneath the St. Clair River between Michigan and Canada. (This Week)

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EMISSIONS: U.S. power sector carbon emissions are expected to drop 7.5% this year due to the economic halt from COVID-19. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY: The federal government should invest $450 billion in rooftop solar in a future round of stimulus funding, which could slash energy bills, cut air pollution and create more than 3.7 million jobs, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

Andy has been a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News since 2014, following four years at City Pulse, Lansing’s alt-weekly newspaper. He covers the state of Michigan and also compiles the Midwest Energy News daily email digest. Andy is a graduate of Michigan State University’s Journalism School, where he focused on topics covered by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and wrote for the Great Lakes Echo. He was the 2008 and 2009 recipient of the Edward Meeman Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Environmental Journalism at Michigan State.