Daily digest

EPA to approve sorghum, alternative to corn, for biofuels

BIOFUELS: The EPA is on the verge of approving sorghum – a crop that is more drought-tolerant than corn and isn’t typically used for food products – as a feedstock for ethanoI (in February, we profiled a Chicago firm that was working on improving the technology for converting sorghum to ethanol) (Associated Press, Midwest Energy News)

MEANWHILE: The ethanol industry pushes back on calls to weaken the EPA’s renewable fuel mandate, saying a recent request from four state governors is “based on misinformation.” (Des Moines Register)

TRANSPORTATION: Toyota says it will offer a production hydrogen fuel cell car by 2015, low oil prices could stall electric car growth, and more travelers are now choosing rail over airlines along the busy Northeast Corridor. (Greenwire, EnergyWire, New York Times)

EFFICIENCY: An Illinois teen’s $30 invention improves the fuel economy of school buses by 10 to 20 percent, potentially saving schools thousands of dollars a year on fuel. (ClimateWire)

OIL: Michigan plans to auction drilling leases on 196,000 acres of state land in October, and landowners along the Enbridge Line 6B pipeline discover there isn’t much they can do to prevent the company from seizing additional easements for the project. (MLive.com)

TRANSMISSION: Builders of a $2 billion transmission project to link Kansas wind farms to the East Coast are in the process of applying to become a regulated utility in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. (Terre Haute Tribune-Star)

NATURAL GAS: A New York company seeks a $1 million grant from North Dakota to build a mobile plant that would convert waste natural gas from the Oil Patch into fertilizer. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich wants the NRC’s inspector general to investigate the agency’s handling of cracks in the Davis-Besse nuclear plant’s shield building, and NRC inspectors begin looking for the cause of a steam leak that forced the shutdown of a Michigan plant. (Toledo Blade, Associated Press)

WIND: Brad Plumer breaks out five key takeaways from the Department of Energy’s wind report. (Washington Post)

SOLAR: A Wisconsin researcher, inspired by sunflowers, develops a system that enables solar panels to follow the sun by responding to light and heat. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: A Bloomberg editorial calls for a carbon tax, Todd Woody explains why he won’t be buying an electric Ford Focus, and Stephen Lacey explores why the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory is gaining traction with the GOP establishment. (Bloomberg, Forbes, Climate Progress)

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