FRACKING: Opponents of hydraulic fracturing will rally at the Illinois state capitol today to call for a two-year moratorium on drilling. (Quad City Times)

WIND: An Iowa wind turbine manufacturer announces it will lay off 40 employees, about half its workforce. (Iowa City Press Citizen)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Ensia Live in Minneapolis March 14 as futurist Jamais Cascio speaks on life on Earth after we cut carbon emissions – with a live aerial arts performance by Ribnic Circus. Midwest Energy News readers enter “midwest2013″ for discount tickets.***

TECHNOLOGY: The upcoming Clean Energy Challenge in Chicago is among a growing number of clean energy competitions that help startup companies and young entrepreneurs refine and launch their ideas and innovations. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL: Michigan health officials say well water along the Kalamazoo River, site of a 2010 oil spill, is safe to drink; and the oil industry opposes a bill to overhaul North Dakota’s tax structure. (, Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Experts say post-Fukushima safety regulations could force some plants to close early, Dominion confirms a May 7 shutdown date for the Kewaunee power plant in Wisconsin, and Ameren Missouri will likely compete for funding to develop small modular reactors. (Greenwire, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KEYSTONE XL: A House GOP budget plan will require approval of Keystone XL, and critics say the State Department’s impact statement sidesteps the question of environmental effects by only looking at what would happen if the pipeline is rejected. (The Hill, InsideClimate News)

POLITICS: Republicans who formerly led the charge on climate change are now steering clear of the issue, and a study finds liberal households are more likely to conserve energy than conservative ones. (E&E Daily, Pacific Standard)

COAL: Business is booming for manufacturers of emissions controls, federal data shows most U.S. coal plants are nearing retirement age, and Dominion plans to sell an Illinois coal plant along with its stake in a natural gas plant. (Greenwire, Quartz, Reuters)

TRANSMISSION: An Associated Press analysis finds Americans are spending 43 percent more than they did in 2002 to maintain electric infrastructure.

TRANSPORTATION: Transit ridership hits its second-highest point since 1957, and a new EPA requirement for gasoline faces political opposition amid concerns it will raise prices. (Politico, National Journal)

COMMENTARY: The political origins of the innovation vs. deployment debate, the search for fusion and other energy miracles, and how community ownership of transmission lines could ease opposition. (Grist, New York Times, CleanTechnica)

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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