Daily digest

As U.S. coal use declines, exports boom in Illinois

COAL: A new report finds Illinois saw record coal exports in 2012, as the state becomes the fifth-largest coal producer in the U.S. (Associated Press)

ALSO: An Indianapolis utility plans to shut down 600 MW of coal- and oil-powered units, and will replace them with a new natural gas plant; a poll finds a northern Minnesota utility’s customers support a shift away from coal; and a soon-to-be-retired power plant in Rochester, Minnesota, is expected to burn through the last of its coal by September. (Indianapolis Star, Duluth News Tribune, Rochester Post-Bulletin)

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FRACKING: Ohio lawmakers introduce a bill calling for a ban on wastewater injection wells; drillers say lack of pipelines and processing facilities are holding back development; a new report finds nearly half of U.S. oil and gas wells are in water-stressed areas; and at a public forum, Michigan regulators assure residents that “we don’t see the sky as falling.” (Coshocton Tribune, Akron Beacon-Journal, Quartz, MLive.com)

FRAC SAND: Minnesota Public Radio unveils a new map of the state’s active and proposed frac sand mines, and recreational cyclists express concerns about increased truck traffic along popular southeast Minnesota routes. (Minnesota Public Radio)

POLLUTION: Critics say vague EPA rules often let pollution violators choose conservation projects based on convenience, rather than impact. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE: General Motors signs on to a declaration calling for action on climate change, and a new poll finds a majority of Americans see a link between climate change and weather extremes. (Detroit Free Press, The Hill)

OIL: The pipeline that spilled thousands of barrels of oil into an Arkansas neighborhood in March leaked a small amount of oil into a Missouri yard this week. (Reuters)

ELECTRIC CARS: Coda, a California-based electric car maker, files for bankruptcy; and Chevy Volt sales slip behind the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. (Reuters, Detroit Free Press)

SOLAR: Business is booming for Ohio-based Xunlight, and the company is on track to turn a profit by July. (Toledo Blade)

TECHNOLOGY: A123 Systems turns its focus to energy storage, and a Wisconsin lab sends its first batch of renewable jet fuel to the Air Force. (Boston Business Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

WIND: A Wisconsin town is ordered to pay $50,000 after a court finds it unfairly targeted wind-energy critics in enforcing its sign ordinance. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OHIO: Federal regulators approve American Electric Power’s plan to separate its Ohio generating business from its transmission operations, and a state siting board approves a new 799 MW natural gas plant near Toledo. (Columbus Business First, Toledo Blade)

TRANSPORTATION: Minnesota is the fourth most bike-friendly state in the U.S., according to a new report. (League of American Bicyclists)

COMMENTARY: What the coal sector has in common with telecommunications, and is Illinois home to “the nation’s most reckless coal industry“? (Forbes, Huffington Post)


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