Daily digest

EPA says coal ash safe for some types of recycling

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)

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