COAL: A former coal company executive is charged with four criminal counts for alleged negligence in a 2010 mine disaster that killed 29 workers. (New York Times)

CLIMATE: George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, talks about his city’s effort to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. (Midwest Energy News)

WISCONSIN: Advocates say an analysis of online comments shows widespread public opposition to utility plans to increase fixed charges. (Daily Cardinal)

UTILITIES: Why American Electric Power is focusing more on transmission than generation. (Columbus Dispatch)

• North Dakota delays a decision on rail car safety. (Bismarck Tribune)
• An Iowa economist says he is “very skeptical” of an industry study claiming $1 billion in economic benefits from a proposed pipeline. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• “Oklahoma has become the new California” for earthquake activity. (Omaha World-Herald)
A worker is killed in an explosion at an Ohio drilling site. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A report warns that water is increasingly the limiting factor for whether drilling operations are profitable. (Bloomberg)

NUCLEAR: In a case that could have implications in Illinois, Exelon wins regulatory support to keep a New York nuclear plant operating; and a contractor sues Xcel over disputed charges for work on a Minnesota nuclear plant. (Bloomberg, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

SOLAR: Solar becomes more mainstream in farm country. (Farm & Ranch Guide)

TRANSPORTATION: Michigan lawmakers vote to double the state’s gasoline tax, and Lincoln, Nebraska buys new natural gas-powered buses. (Associated Press, Lincoln Journal Star)

HYDROPOWER: A Minnesota hydro plant is operating again after damage from a 2012 flood. (Forum News Service)

COMMENTARY: A Wisconsin county issues a puzzling declaration about a wind farm, and why power lines are a better deal for Iowans than pipelines. (Green Bay Press-Gazette, Des Moines Register)

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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