Daily digest

Ohio Republicans give last-minute support to ban fracking in state parks

FRACKING: In ‘rare defeat’ of oil and gas industry, Ohio Republicans change their minds and make last-minute, bipartisan push to ban fracking in state parks. (Columbus Dispatch)

MICHIGAN: Transitioning to 30 to 40 percent renewable energy with an emphasis on efficiency would be a ‘tremendous shift’ for the coal-heavy state. (Utility Dive)

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•  A series of bills involving renewables, regulatory oversight, efficiency and nuclear plants have an uncertain future in the state legislature. (Midwest Energy News)
•  Faith group looks to extend community solar opportunities to low-income residents, saying many are blocked access. (Midwest Energy News) 

OIL TRANSPORT: A populous Minnesota county will spend nearly $2 million to buy up land in the name of public safety so freight haulers can’t use it to move oil from North Dakota. (Minneapolis StarTribune)

COAL TO GAS: Two coal plants in Wisconsin could be converted to run on natural gas by the end of the year. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

•  U.S. Sen. Rob Portman bashes former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland on coal record in new ads. (Columbus Dispatch)
•  Despite falling prices, natural gas production in Ohio’s portion of the Utica Shale is expected to grow. (Columbus Dispatch)
•  Ohio State University seeks to build a $2.5 million compressed natural gas station by next year. (Columbus Business First)

COAL: ‘The king of American coal,’ Robert Murray, is profiled as his company prepares to buy a controlling stake in a company founded by his longtime rival. (Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: For public land, the Obama administration will encourage wind and solar and pursue tougher standards for oil and gas development in last 22 months in office. (Washington Post) 

RELIABILITY: Voters in a Missouri city next month will vote on whether to allow the local utility to bond for electric upgrades or possibly face even higher rate increases in the future. (Missourian)

ELECTION: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defends his stance on ethanol subsidies, a key policy issue in Iowa leading up to the 2016 election. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

SOLAR: A consumer watchdog group in Portland, Oregon warns that a local utility should not use Wisconsin as a model as it seeks to raise base rates for customers amid growth of rooftop solar. (Portland Business Journal)

BUDGET: House Republicans release a non-binding budget blueprint that focuses on more domestic energy production, less regulations. (Greenwire)

RPS: A Kansas state House panel is scheduled to vote today on whether to freeze the state’s renewable portfolio standard. (Associated Press)

APPOINTMENT: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appoints a utility executive to run the state Treasury Department. (Associated Press) 

BILLING: AEP Ohio says it would be lawful for the utility to remotely disconnect ratepayers with smart meters who don’t make payments, eliminating the need for final in-person notice in most cases. (Columbus Business First) 

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BIOFUEL: A team looking to build a biofuel plant in North Dakota that turns industrially grown beets into ethanol is holding public meetings this week. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: Energy policy that does not focus on affordability, reliability and the environment will stall the economic recovery in Michigan. (Lansing State Journal)

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