CLIMATE: Recent drought and poor air quality from wildfires are challenging the perception of the Midwest as a climate refuge, experts say. (Investigate Midwest)

ALSO: Michigan Democrats seek to shed the state’s reputation as a climate laggard dependent on auto manufacturing with an aggressive clean energy strategy calling for 100% carbon-free power by 2035. (New York Times)

POLITICS: An Ohio lobbyist and former chairman of the state GOP was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a $60 million corruption scheme that resulted in favorable legislation for FirstEnergy. (Associated Press)

OVERSIGHT: Recent studies find that most public utility commissions, which make key decisions on states’ transition to clean energy and set electricity rates for customers, largely lack diversity of life and professional experience. (Energy News Network)

• South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is an investor in an ethanol plant that would connect to a proposed carbon capture pipeline, raising questions about Noem’s lack of support for anti-pipeline legislation. (South Dakota Searchlight)
• Federal tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act have helped to spur development interest in carbon pipelines, despite intense disputes with landowners and questions about their overall climate benefits. (States Newsroom)

GRID: Indiana, Illinois and Ohio could gain billions of dollars in investments and thousands of jobs with the expedited buildout of renewable energy projects in grid operator PJM’s territory, according to a new report. (Inside Climate News)

• An Ohio appeals court rules that coal companies must follow state coal ash regulations even if they are more stringent than federal rules. (Ideastream)
• An Ohio conservation group recently acquired the mineral rights of a strip mine with intentions to leave the coal resources in the ground. (Athens County Independent)

EFFICIENCY: Minnesota is among a growing number of states considering legislation to strengthen building performance standards to reduce energy use in commercial properties. (States Newsroom)

• An economic development fund to help lure electric vehicle and battery manufacturers to Michigan has ballooned to $2 billion. (MLive)
• Supply disruptions have challenged cities’ ability to purchase hybrid and electric vehicles. (States Newsroom)

UTILITIES: Evergy customers in Missouri will soon be subject to paying variable time-of-use rates that fluctuate based on overall demand. (KCUR)

WIND: A 200 MW wind project that helps power a data center owned by Facebook’s parent company comes online in Minnesota. (NPR Illinois)

AIR POLLUTION: Attorneys general from Illinois and Minnesota plan to join a lawsuit claiming the U.S. EPA has failed to review and ensure the enforcement of emissions standards for residential wood-burning stoves. (Associated Press)

• A court order requiring the cleanup of coal ash along a scenic Illinois river is the first step in what will likely be a years-long process to remove pollution from the area, a columnist writes. (News-Gazette)
• Local officials should block the development of a utility-scale solar project near a protected wildlife area in Kansas, a columnist writes. (Kansas Reflector)

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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.