EFFICIENCY: FirstEnergy backs off its effort to freeze Ohio’s efficiency mandate. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COAL: Peabody Energy Corp. announces it will close a southern Illinois coal mine with a history of safety problems, including the death of a worker earlier this month. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: Early Bird registration extended until December 7 for  2013 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, January 16-18, 2013 in Chicago. Use code MWEN25off to receive an additional $25 off early bird rates.***

OIL: Susan Rice, a leading contender for Secretary of State, has a major financial stake in Canada’s oil sands, including between $300,000 and $600,000 in TransCanada stock, according to disclosure reports. (OnEarth Magazine)

ALSO: Minnesota refineries object to a surcharge to pay for a pipeline that they won’t utilize, and a judge rules a Michigan landowner group’s lawsuit against Enbridge can proceed. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, InsideClimate News)

SOLAR: A new government study finds solar prices continue to fall, and some Wisconsin ratepayers may pay a higher surcharge after state regulators end a solar incentive program. (EarthTechling, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

FRACKING: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder voices his support for fracking, 100 people are removed from an information session on wastewater injection wells in Ohio after trying to turn it into a public hearing, and a new study finds methane emissions from fracking are only slightly higher than those from conventional natural gas drilling. (Detroit Free Press, Columbus Dispatch, EnergyWire)

CLIMATE: A policy group plans to sue the EPA to force stronger emission rules for the transportation sector, and conservative groups mobilize against a carbon tax. (Reuters, ClimateWire)

TRANSPORTATION: An electric vehicle manufacturer plans a new manufacturing plant in Chicago, as the city announces a voucher program to encourage truck fleet operators to electrify. (Chicago Tribune, NBC Chicago)

BIOFUELS: The U.S. Senate approves an amendment preserving the military’s biofuel program, and an industry group representing chain restaurants releases a study pinning billions in additional costs to the renewable fuel mandate. (The Hill, Des Moines Register)

WIND: Iowa politicians are united in support of the wind tax credit, and a Minnesota group releases a study saying wind energy in the state saves emissions equivalent to taking 757,000 cars off the road. (Des Moines Register, Duluth News Tribune)

OHIO: The state Supreme Court rules Ohio homeowners with electric heat cannot sue FirstEnergy for ending rate discounts. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COMMENTARY: Grist is publishing, in its entirety, the book Carbon Zero by Alex Steffen, which highlights the ways cities can lead in cutting emissions.

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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