Daily digest

Congressional report questions viability of FutureGen project

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)

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