Daily digest

Ohio Senate approves plan to make clean energy standards voluntary for two years

EFFICIENCY: Advocates in Wisconsin say their fears have been realized as state regulators approve directing ratepayer funds for energy efficiency to expanding broadband internet access in rural areas. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: The Ohio Senate approves changes to the state’s clean energy standards, making them voluntary for the next two years. The bill heads back to the House for approval and may ultimately be vetoed by Gov. John Kasich. (Columbus Dispatch)

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NUCLEAR:
• The announcement of the closing of a nuclear plant in southwest Michigan has stoked the debate over maintaining adequate electricity supplies in the state. (MLive)
• Entergy’s announcement sent shockwaves through the nearby community of South Haven; anti-nuclear advocates applauded the decision; and one state lawmaker called it a bad decision not just for the community but also the state’s energy future. (MLive)
• Decommissioning the Palisades plant will be a lengthy, complicated process, federal regulators say. (MLive)

COAL:
• A bill to keep the federal government operating may stall amid a fight over health and pension benefits for retired coal miners. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A company looks to reopen a surface coal mine in Illinois. (Platts)

PIPELINES:
• North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple says Energy Transfer Partners has “abdicated” its role in publicly defending the Dakota Access project. (Forum News Service)
• The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wants its lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put on hold after the agency ruled in its favor over rerouting the project. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Dakota Access protesters say they are receiving conflicting messages from tribal leaders about whether to stay at the Standing Rock site. (Associated Press)
• Local officials in southeast Michigan withhold their support for granting easements for portions of the NEXUS gas pipeline over concerns about its potential proximity to bodies of water. (MLive)
• The winter weather is hampering a company’s effort to clean up a “significant” pipeline break that leaked crude oil into a western North Dakota river tributary. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• A new study shows that solar panels more than make up for the carbon that is released during their production. (Anthropocene Magazine)
• A Minnesota electric cooperative plans to build a community solar garden next spring. (West Central Tribune)

CLIMATE: A new report shows 33 states have cut emissions and grown their economies from 2000-2014, while the others have seen their emissions rise. (Governing Magazine)

DIVESTMENT: The Minneapolis City Council is exploring ways to stop doing business with banks that invest in fossil fuels “and in projects like the Dakota Access pipeline.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

EMISSIONS: Minnesota files another lawsuit against Volkswagen alleging the company violated state anti-tampering laws and environmental regulations. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:
• Industry experts say North Dakota may be the biggest loser following the halt of the Dakota Access pipeline project as developers go to fields with lower production costs in Texas and Oklahoma. (New York Times)
• North Dakota oil and gas royalty owners are seeing more deductions from their checks but say companies are not properly explaining why. (Forum News Service)

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UTILITIES: Two electric cooperatives serving customers in Minnesota and Iowa plan to merge on Jan. 1. (Winona Daily News)

COMMENTARY:
• For North Dakota, investment in wind energy makes sense alongside investment in oil. (Williston Herald)
• The Illinois Future Energy Jobs Bill is “one of the most comprehensive state energy bills ever crafted and is the most important climate bill in Illinois history.” (Union of Concerned Scientists)

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