Energy news in brief

** St. Louis-area civic leaders call on Ameren to retire its coal fleet by 2030, up to 15 years earlier than planned, in a rare public criticism of the utility.

** The USDA issues $1.3 million in grants to rural Minnesota farmers and businesses to install renewable energy and efficiency projects.

** Kansas City utility Evergy will be closely watched by regulators and activist investors as it transitions to new leadership and more renewables.

** Southeastern Nebraska county officials expand setback requirements for wind projects in an effort to protect landowners who don’t sign leases.

** An investment firm calls Arizona electric truck startup Nikola an “intricate fraud,” claiming the company hasn’t produced an operational vehicle and that a prototype was simply rolled down a hill for a promotional video.

** A federal advisory panel warns that large-scale Western wildfires could trigger a national financial crisis.

** The operator of a Powder River Basin coal mine confirms 73 miners are to be furloughed for a second time due to adverse market conditions.

** Colorado utilities begin issuing shutoff notices now that a statewide eviction moratorium has expired.

** Arkansas school districts are installing solar projects that will cut energy costs, reduce carbon emissions, and provide educational opportunities.

** South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce has “deep concern” about Charleston’s lawsuit seeking climate damages from large oil companies.

**  Delaware becomes the latest state to file suit against the fossil fuel industry, claiming it deceived the public for 50 years on climate change.

** A coalition of state and local lawmakers push New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to file a similar suit, noting the state will have to spend billions of dollars to protect against sea level rise.

** A federal judge asks the Trump administration to explain how the president’s surprise and partial offshore drilling moratorium this week relates to a previous executive order encouraging energy exploration and production in federal waters.

** More than 1,000 scientists and academics cite the climate crisis and urge the New York State pension fund to immediately divest its fossil fuel holdings.

** Some of the world’s biggest oil traders are gearing up for a possible resurgence of a coronavirus-induced glut of crude and fuels, snapping up giant tankers for months-long charters so that they can be ready to store excess barrels if necessary.

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