FRACKING: As Illinois officials finalize fracking regulations that some critics say are too lax, citizens in one rural county are taking the issue to the ballot box. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Critics say an industry-backed drilling tax plan in Ohio could actually drain resources from the state. (Toledo Blade)

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OIL: A Canadian study confirms that diluted bitumen can sink in water under certain conditions; and tougher regulations for rail cars carrying oil won’t be ready until 2015, drawing criticism from a North Dakota senator. (Canadian Press, Houston Chronicle, The Hill)

COAL: Emission upgrades at Illinois coal plants will mean cleaner air for Chicago,  environmental groups file a new challenge to a proposed Indiana coal gasification plant, and a Nebraska utility may have to pay $83 million for pollution upgrades to a Wyoming coal plant. (Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, Lincoln Journal Star)

CLIMATE: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s new energy plan disregards concerns about climate change that were prominent in its 2008 report. (SNL)

MEANWHILE: The Kansas Chamber of Commerce says repealing the state’s renewable energy standard will be among its top legislative priorities this year. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: County officials in Milwaukee consider building a solar farm at the city’s airport, and a report says hydrogen production may be the best way to store solar energy. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Energy Central)

WIND: Operators of a Michigan wind farm will replace 33 turbine blades after one of them broke in November. (Huron Daily Tribune)

ETHANOL: Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois lawmakers meet with the EPA to discuss the renewable fuel standard, and Wisconsin ethanol producers push Gov. Scott Walker to take a stand on the issue. (Des Moines Register, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

FRAC SAND: Frac sand mining opponents will host a summit in Winona, Minnesota this weekend. (Winona Daily News)

NUCLEAR: An investigation finds Exelon is among the leading contributors of so-called “dark money” to nonprofits, spending millions primarily to promote nuclear power. (Center for Public Integrity)

MEDIA: An analysis finds coverage of climate change in major newspapers declined last year. (Grist)

COMMENTARY: Why businesses and investors can’t afford to ignore climate change. (GreenBiz)

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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