POLICY: Hearings will continue today in the Ohio legislature on the state’s renewable energy standard, as at least 40 bills and 2 lawsuits target renewable standards throughout the U.S. (Columbus Dispatch, InsideClimate News)

WIND: A bill in Iowa would encourage farm-based small wind projects by requiring utilities to pay a set rate for the electricity they produce. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The best Midwest clean energy startups vie for $250,000 in prizes at the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge April 4 in Chicago.***

ETHANOL: Soaring prices for renewable fuel credits could cost refiners $7 billion this year, and a warming climate and new seed hybrids push the corn belt into the Dakotas. (Politico, Reuters)

CLIMATE: Coal state Democrats want the EPA to weaken emissions rules for new power plants, and concerns about legal challenges may be what’s prompting delay of carbon rules for existing sources. (The Hill, Washington Post)

SMART GRID: A bill to allow rate increases to modernize Illinois’ power grid won easy approval in the state Senate last week, and awaits action from the House. (Chicago Tribune)

EPA: Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt puts a hold on Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA until he gets an update on a levee repair project. (The Hill)

COAL: Miners fight Patriot Coal’s efforts to terminate benefits for retirees. (St. Louis Business Journal)

OIL: North Dakota Democrats say a proposed oil tax measure will cost the state $1.3 billion in the first five years. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: 2012 cars set a record for efficiency, a National Academy of Sciences panel finds it’s possible to cut petroleum consumption in cars by 80 percent with more aggressive policies, and natural gas fueling stations for trucks are expected to be “coast to coast and border to border” at the end of the year. (Chicago Tribune, New York Times, National Geographic)

ALSO: An environmental assessment finds no major impact from a proposed Minneapolis-to-Duluth high-speed rail line. (Finance & Commerce)

COMMENTARY: The mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan says the state should follow his city’s lead on energy. (Grand Rapids Press)

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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