ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson ran on a platform that included sustainability and environmental justice, though experts say activists will need to keep up pressure to drive meaningful change. (Grist)

• FirstEnergy says it needs more time and millions of dollars in ratepayer funding to consider West Virginia’s request for the utility to buy back a major coal plant along the Ohio River. (Ohio Capital Journal)
• Environmental groups raise concerns about MidAmerican Energy’s request to discharge water that’s been run through coal ash into the Missouri River, though the utility says critics are misrepresenting the plan. (KMTV)

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CARBON CAPTURE: Legislation to limit the use of eminent domain for carbon capture pipelines recently failed in North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa, signaling lawmakers’ hesitance to regulate the projects. (West Central Tribune)

• Protesters gather near the site of a planned $2 billion electric vehicle battery plant in western Michigan, while developers dismiss unfounded fears about a plot to use the facility to “spread communism.” (WOOD-TV8)
• A new report warns that state transportation plans required to access federal incentives for electric vehicle charging have not been considering local power needs and grid impacts. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE: Iowa is among four states that missed a deadline to apply for $3 million in federal climate planning grants, though local governments still seek to participate in the program. (Axios)

STORAGE: Illinois lawmakers introduce a bill that would require state regulators to facilitate energy storage credits to incentivize storage development. (Center Square)

UTILITIES: An administrative law judge recommends a lower rate increase for Xcel Energy than the utility proposed, though consumer advocates say the company’s guaranteed revenues are still too high and harmful for ratepayers. (Star Tribune)

NUCLEAR: At least three Minnesota agencies knew of a contaminated water leak late last year at a nuclear plant, months before the incident was publicly known. (WCCO)

ELECTRIFICATION: Ann Arbor, Michigan, officials approve a developer’s plan to build 79 all-electric apartments that don’t rely on natural gas connections, a plan that aligns with the city’s sustainability goals. (MLive)

• Missouri regulators delay hearings by two weeks on amendments to a key permit for the Grain Belt Express clean energy transmission project. (Monitor Index)
• Michigan utility Consumers Energy plans to install grid infrastructure equipment known as automatic transfer reclosers this year to prevent outages and boost grid reliability. (WNEM)
• Consumers Energy also pauses plans for a 20-mile transmission line in southwestern Michigan following a wave of landowner opposition. (WOOD-TV8)

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• A Nebraska county considers regulations for residential for commercial solar projects as developers and landowners show growing interest in projects. (News Channel Nebraska)
• A Michigan school district launches a fundraiser to offset costs of an onsite solar project that could generate up to $70,000 a year in savings. (MLive)

ADVOCACY: Winona LaDuke resigns as executive director of Honor the Earth following a sexual harassment verdict against the national Native American-led environmental group, which is known for its opposition to the Line 3 pipeline. (MPR News)

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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.