NOTE TO READERS: The Chicago Tribune article on coal plant upgrades in yesterday’s digest was from January 2013. Apologies for the error.

COAL: The Department of Energy pledges $1 billion to help fund the FutureGen project in Illinois, part of a larger push for carbon capture in the U.S. (Springfield State Journal-Register, Christian Science Monitor)

ALSO: States are still spending billions of dollars to import coal, a Michigan town will pay $450,000 to settle pollution claims related to its coal plant, and developers of a proposed Illinois coal mine are ordered to stop logging on the site. (Midwest Energy News, WZZM, Carbondale Southern)

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EPA: Nebraska sues to block EPA carbon rules for power plants, an email exchange between a Sierra Club lobbyist and EPA staffers becomes a GOP talking point, and the agency denies accusations that carbon rules were delayed for political reasons. (Lincoln Journal Star, Greenwire, Associated Press)

CLIMATE: A UN report warns severe economic disruption is becoming more likely as action on climate change is delayed. (New York Times)

SOLAR: A Wisconsin cooperative plans a new solar farm in southeast Minnesota, and a Minnesota study finds solar thermal heating systems are cost-competitive with other fuels. (LaCrosse Tribune, Finance & Commerce)

WIND: Construction will begin this month on a new Nebraska wind farm after the state’s largest utility signs a 25-year purchase agreement. (Omaha World-Herald)

OIL: Federal transportation officials call on railroads to improve oil train safety, and Canada loses patience with the U.S. on Keystone XL. (Associated Press, Reuters)

FRACKING: Ohio lawmakers want to ensure drilling tax dollars go to impacted communities, and a study finds fracking’s impact on home values depends on where those homes get their water from. (Columbus Dispatch, The Economist)

OHIO: More than two dozen people apply to lead the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and environmentalists question whether the state’s EPA can handle a major water pollution threat like the recent West Virginia chemical spill. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Public News Service)

ETHANOL: A group of 30 House lawmakers warn cutting the renewable fuel standard will harm rural communities, and Iowa legislators pass resolutions in support of the existing mandate. (Des Moines Register)

TRANSMISSION: A North Dakota utility unveils alternate routes for new transmission lines to serve the state’s oil fields, but doesn’t resolve controversy over crossing a historic battlefield. (Bismarck Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Why exploding oil trains are the new Keystone XL. (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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