COAL ASH: The EPA declares coal ash safe for use in wallboard and cement, an indication it’s not likely to be declared a hazardous substance. (Bloomberg)

MEANWHILE: Regulators in North Carolina have protected Duke Energy from lawsuits seeking cleanup of its coal ash ponds. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2014 Clean Energy Challenge business plan competition awards over $500,000 in prizes to the Midwest’s best clean tech researchers, entrepreneurs and students! Early bird tickets available. Presented by Clean Energy Trust. #StartUpNow***

EFFICIENCY: Utilities in Illinois are running out of “low-hanging fruit” to cut energy use, but state regulators say there’s still plenty of work yet to be done. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: New EPA efficiency rules are expected to save consumers billions of dollars for a cost of only $70 million, and Detroit plans to convert all its streetlights to LEDs. (The Hill, MLive)

OIL & GAS: Why the drilling boom won’t necessarily mean lower energy prices for Americans. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

KEYSTONE XL: The State Department’s environmental review of Keystone XL relies heavily on research from a consulting firm owned by an oil sands developer. (InsideClimate News)

NUCLEAR: Salt beds in New Mexico could provide a nuclear waste solution, Ohio’s Davis-Besse plant begins a $600 million upgrade, and Michigan lawmakers introduce a bill to improve security at nuclear plants. (New York Times, Toledo Blade, MLive)

COAL: The EPA says an Indianapolis coal plant is still the city’s top polluter. (Indianapolis Star)

WILDLIFE: Federal regulators plan a free-market habitat exchange to protect the lesser prairie chicken. (Greenwire)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Solar Powering Minnesota Conference on March 7 is SOLD OUT. You can still join us as an event sponsor to get in front of more than 300 movers and shakers! Learn more at growsolar.org.***

TRANSPORTATION: The Chicago Tribune profiles Ann Schlenker, who leads a team at Argonne National Laboratory dedicated to reducing dependence on gasoline.

COMMENTARY: The five biggest energy changes of the past six years. (National Journal)

Ken Paulman

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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