Energy news in brief

** Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro named a powerful ally sanctioned by the U.S. as a drug kingpin, along with a cousin of the late socialist leader Hugo Chávez, to revamp Venezuela’s oil industry amid massive gasoline shortages. Tareck El Aissami was appointed oil minister and Asdrúbal Chávez tapped to head of state-run oil giant PDVSA.

** Ford and Rivian cancel plans to build a Lincoln-branded electric vehicle due to uncertainty caused by the pandemic. 

**  Environmental groups raise concerns about an Indiana coal company receiving a $10 million federal loan as part of CARES Act stimulus funds. 

** A U.S. House committee report claims FERC’s process for approving natural gas pipelines unfairly favors developers over landowners.

** California regulators say the decline in fossil fuel use during the coronavirus pandemic presents a unique opportunity to study the impacts of air pollution.

** A judge has temporarily blocked Alaska Native oil and gas companies from accessing $8 billion in coronavirus relief funds meant for tribal governments.

** Two Colorado conservationists say the federal government’s outdated oil and gas management system has allowed companies to abandon wells across the state.

**  Environmental advocates suspect pressure from the oil industry may be a factor in the dismissal of a University of Colorado air quality researcher.

** A writer says oil production in states like New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado is being killed by the coronavirus crisis and might never bounce back.