‘THE NEW OIL’: In a Q&A, a mining industry spokesman says that if the U.S. wants to significantly ramp up renewable energy, it will have to streamline the process for mining rare earth minerals. (Midwest Energy News)

CONGRESS: Democrats seek to attach a wind tax credit extension to Republicans’ “War on Coal” bill, which President Obama has threatened to veto. (The Hill)

OIL: An analysis finds pipeline leak detection technology only picked up about 5 percent of spills in the past 10 years; and North Dakota oil patch communities demand a cut of a growing state surplus “without begging.” (InsideClimate News, Bismarck Tribune)

COAL: Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich calls for a federal investigation of the Prairie State Energy Campus and its impact on Ohio ratepayers. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

POLITICS: The AFL-CIO criticizes the Romney campaign for using footage of coal miners who were forced to attend an Ohio rally in a political ad, a Kentucky GOP congressional candidate’s ad features a coal executive dressed like a miner, and North Dakota Republicans call on a Democratic Senate candidate to return money from a law firm that has represented anti-fracking groups. (Associated Press, Lexington Herald-Leader, Fargo Forum)

ETHANOL: Valero restarts two idled plants in Nebraska and Indiana, and an industry group says a study calling for a long-term waiver of ethanol mandates “actually underscores why the RFS is so important.” (Bloomberg, Des Moines Register)

OHIO: A panel of experts is bullish on the prospects of increased drilling in the Utica Shale. (Columbus Business First)

ILLINOIS: Residents of some Chicago suburbs that voted to participate in electricity  aggregation programs are seeing their utility bills plummet. (Chicago Tribune)

WIND: Ships carrying imported wind turbine parts are reviving the port at Muskegon, Michigan. (Muskegon Chronicle)

TRANSPORTATION: Fewer Americans are driving solo to work, opting for transit or rideshare instead. (USA Today)

COMMENTARY: The Toledo Blade calls for renewal of the wind tax credit, and the Bay City Times says fracking is “a good compromise as we continue work on renewable energy sources.”

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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