Daily digest

Cold, pipeline rupture put a crimp on natural gas

NATURAL GAS: Gas prices soar as temperatures plummet once again in the U.S., Xcel Energy calls on some Minnesota and North Dakota customers to lower their thermostats to 60 degrees following an explosion on a key pipeline, and the PUCO urges Ohio customers to conserve energy. (Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Canadian Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ALSO: High demand for natural gas is squeezing electricity generators as well. (EnergyWire)

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FRACKING:
• Illinois environmental groups say the state’s fracking rules have a major loophole. (Chicago Tribune)
• Ohio officials dismiss radiation concerns from drilling waste. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Drilling opponents say Ohio is moving too fast on permits. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A 2012 Ohio law is allowing gas pipelines to be built with minimal oversight. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Why Michigan’s fracking boom has yet to materialize. (MLive)

SOLAR: In Iowa and elsewhere, farmers are leading the way on solar power; Minnesota regulators approve millions in Xcel Energy grants for new solar projects; and students at Missouri State University say school officials are holding back their solar plan. (Midwest Energy News, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Springfield News-Leader)

OIL:
• A closer look at the “virtual pipelines” moving oil by rail across the U.S. (New York Times)
• Pipeline construction provides an economic boost to some Midwest towns. (Kansas City Star)
• Oil trucks in North Dakota could be kicking up carcinogenic dust. (High Country News)
• Enbridge says a permit for expansion of the Alberta Clipper pipeline is being delayed. (Reuters)

POLITICS: Why the Keystone XL fight is boosting the environmental movement, and conservatives are increasingly divided on solar power. (New York Times)

WILDLIFE: Kansas officials push to remove federal protection for the Lesser Prairie Chicken amid concerns from wind and transmission developers. (Lawrence Journal World)

EFFICIENCY: Why 60-cent light bulbs were never a bargain. (ClimateWire)

BIOFUELS: Wisconsin researchers may have found a way to make cellulosic biofuels cheaper to produce. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: Why natural gas is not a climate solution, and Iowa risks missing an opportunity on solar power. (National Journal, Des Moines Register)

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