FUTUREGEN: A Congressional Research Service report questions the viability of the FutureGen project in Illinois, and says it’s unlikely to be completed before its federal funding expires in 2015. (SNL)

EPA: A political fight over climate change is expected at today’s confirmation hearing for EPA administrator nominee Gina McCarthy. (National Journal)

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CHICAGO: A recent EPA settlement seals the fate of a Chicago-area coal plant that’s already been shut down for more than a year, but residents will see additional benefits from other provisions. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL: Rising production costs challenge the mining industry, and a malfunction at a Michigan power plant sends a “huge black cloud” of fly ash into the sky. (SNL, Patch)

OIL: Exxon is forced to modify its claim that oil from an Arkansas pipeline rupture last month hadn’t reached a nearby lake, North Dakota’s attorney general wants $10 million from the state to fight rising crime in the Oil Patch, and a Red Lake Nation activist is arrested at an Enbridge office in Minnesota as the tribe continues to protest oil sands pipelines. (InsideClimate News, Associated Press, Forum News Service)

FRACKING: A study finds fracking can cause earthquakes, just not significant ones; Illinois fracking legislation is held up in a dispute over worker certification; and the University of Michigan will host a town hall forum on fracking next week. (Bloomberg, Chicago Sun-Times, AnnArbor.com)

NATURAL GAS: The Energy Department will test new technology to use solar power to increase the energy content of natural gas, and work is completed on a new pipeline to carry natural gas products from North Dakota to Colorado. (New York Times, Dickinson Press)

SMART METERS: A lawsuit filed in Illinois last week seeks $182 million from ComEd for not installing smart meters quickly enough. (Chicago Tribune)

HYDRO: The House votes 416-7 in favor of a bill to ease barriers to hydropower development. (The Hill)

MILITARY GOES GREEN: The Air Force’s recently released strategic plan emphasizes efficiency, renewable fuels and distributed generation as key to national security. (CleanTechnica)

TRANSPORTATION: House Republicans plan hearings on struggling electric car company Fisker. (The Hill)

EFFICIENCY: The head of a Duluth nonprofit that helps retrofit homes will be honored at the White House today. (Duluth News Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Why distributed solar doesn’t have to spell doom for utilities. (Grist)

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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