Daily digest

Despite shutdowns, coal still powers much of Minnesota

COAL: The Interior Department will investigate whether coal companies are lowballing the value of coal mined on public lands to avoid paying royalties to the government. (The Hill)

ALSO: A string of recently announced coal plant shutdowns in Minnesota represent only about 3 percent of the state’s CO2 emissions, and an Indiana TV station does an extensive report on the health impact of coal emissions. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, WTHR)

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CARBON CAPTURE: Ohio State University researchers develop a process that can capture 99 percent of the CO2 emissions from coal, but the technology still has to be proven in a real-world setting. (Midwest Energy News)

NUCLEAR: A Wisconsin lawmaker seeks to add nuclear power to the state’s renewable energy standard, and MidAmerican Energy says it is still considering a new nuclear plant in Iowa. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Des Moines Register)

CLIMATE: The EPA opens a 60-day comment period for its climate change plan, which will “integrate, or mainstream, considerations of climate change into its programs, policies, rules and operations.” (The Hill)

TRANSMISSION: American Transmission Company scales back a plan to expand a transmission line into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (LaCrosse Tribune)

SOLAR: As the solar industry expands, so does the need for disposing of hazardous waste from the production process. (Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin regulators say a frac sand mine is failing to follow its own dust control plan, and sets a deadline to correct the problem. (LaCrosse Tribune)

ETHANOL: A corn shortage has forced at least 20 ethanol plants to shut down. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: A new study finds more than 460 Midwest manufacturers will benefit from the expansion of high-speed rail. (Associated Press)

KEYSTONE XL: Rep. Fred Upton says he’s “not overly optimistic” the Keystone XL pipeline will be approved, Secretary of State John Kerry offers few hints on where he stands on the issue. (Kalamazoo Gazette, Politico)

TECHNOLOGY: Electric car execs say batteries are improving at a “revolutionary” pace of about 5 to 8 percent per year. (GigaOM)

WIND: Wisconsin regulators won’t require an environmental impact statement for a proposed wind farm in St. Croix county. (Pierce County Herald)

COMMENTARY: The president’s climate rhetoric needs to move beyond green jobs and energy independence, and why Germany has more solar than the U.S. (Washington Post, Grist)

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