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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• 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)

• 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)

• 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)

• 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.

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Andy Balaskovitz

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.