Daily digest

Ohio groups call capping methane leaks ‘low-hanging fruit’

SOLAR:
• Clean energy advocates file a proposal with Minnesota regulators that would make it easier and faster to connect new solar projects to the grid. (Midwest Energy News)
An Ohio city suspends building and zoning fees on solar installations to encourage more solar development. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

WIND: Midwest states collectively are leading a swift transition toward wind energy as well as coal retirements. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

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METHANE:
• The U.S. EPA takes its first steps to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources while also finalizing rules for new operations. (Greenwire)
In doing so, the Obama administration looks to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry 45 percent by 2025. (Climate Central)
However, rules for existing oil and gas operations would likely have to be set by the next administration in the White House. (Grist)
• Ohio industry groups say the new rules threaten to slow the state’s fracking surge, while environmental groups call capping methane leaks “low-hanging fruit.” (Toledo Blade)

FRACKING: A new study says young children and infants are particularly at risk from airborne pollutants associated with fracking and drilling. (DeSmog)

NUCLEAR:
• The head of a Nebraska utility calls for closing the country’s smallest nuclear plant by the end of the year because “it’s just not economically viable.” (Associated Press)
Community leaders in central Illinois plead with Gov. Bruce Rauner to help keep a struggling nuclear plant open there. (Champaign News-Gazette)

OHIO:
• Hearings begin on plans to extend indefinitely the state’s clean energy standards freeze. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Republican State Sen. Bill Seitz says it’s “increasingly likely” his plan won’t go before lawmakers until after the November elections. (Platts)
The CEO of Pennsylvania-based Talen Energy says if struggling coal and nuclear plants in Ohio can’t operate without subsidies then they should shut down. (Utility Dive / SNL)

ILLINOIS: Nuclear, coal and renewable energy groups are all competing for the state Legislature’s attention on new bills before it adjourns at the end of the month. (Bloomington Pantagraph)

PIPELINES:
• Construction on the Dakota Access pipeline still faces strong opposition in Iowa. (Associated Press)
The developer says it has secured all of the necessary permissions from landowners in North Dakota and South Dakota. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Ameren is preparing to make a final offer to acquire Westar Energy, Kansas’ largest electric utility. (Bloomberg)

COAL: Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship reports for a one-year prison sentence for his role in a deadly mine explosion. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS: Oil production in North Dakota dropped by nearly 10,000 barrels a day in March, though daily natural gas production set a new record. (Associated Press)

BIOFUELS:
• Federal workplace safety officials are investigating a fire at a South Dakota ethanol plant that killed one worker and injured another. (Associated Press)
• Ohio State University is selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to find more efficient ways to turn biomass into synthetic gas. (Columbus Business First)

COMMENTARY: An Illinois bill proposed this week calling for investment in the state’s coal industry “has everything to do with getting re-elected, period.” (Southern Illinoisan) 

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