Daily digest

Staffing cutbacks limit Illinois’ ability to enforce federal air pollution rules

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RENEWABLES: Utilities are left in a bind to either increase renewable energy capacity or risk losing customers as large corporations seek to boost their renewable portfolios. (Midwest Energy News)

EMISSIONS:
• Illinois is among states imposing significant staffing cutbacks on state agencies that enforce federal air pollution rules. (Center for Public Integrity)
• Methane emissions from fossil fuel production are between 20 and 60 percent higher than previously thought, according to new research. (InsideClimate News)

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SOLAR: Dane County in Wisconsin looks to install more solar panels and save about $87,000 in electricity costs in the first year of the initiative. (Badger Herald)

COAL: A former surface coal mine in Ohio is now a “thriving reserve for wildlife and its own ecosystem.” (Perry County Tribune)

PIPELINES:
• Activists attempt to shut down pipelines in Minnesota, North Dakota and elsewhere by turning emergency valves to stop the flow of oil through them. (Forum News Service)
• Two of the pipelines in Minnesota that were temporarily shut down but have since been reopened. (Minnesota Public Radio)
Construction resumes on the Dakota Access pipeline near disputed sections in North Dakota, and protesters consider chaining themselves to equipment. (Bismarck Tribune)
• More Wisconsin deputies are sent to North Dakota to help with Dakota Access pipeline protests. (WISC-TV)
• Dakota Access protesters are “redoubling efforts” in an attempt to permanently shut down the entire project. (InsideClimate News)

OIL AND GAS: The company looking to develop an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota submits its permit application to state regulators. (Forum News Service)

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STORAGE: Energy storage had a “banner year” in 2015 and analysts say 2016 is “poised to best that performance.” (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY: The coal industry does not have a regulation problem, but rather a “growing market problem“ as other technologies produce electricity at lower cost. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

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