COAL: Illinois regulators grant Ameren more time to clean up power plant emissions, critics say the “loophole” weakens the state’s pollution laws. (Midwest Energy News)

FRACKING: A ProPublica investigation finds there is little oversight of fracking chemicals disposed in wastewater wells, and a new report says Ohio is unprepared to handle the costs of a potential drilling boom. (ProPublica, Columbus Dispatch)

WIND: An unusual coalition fights the wind production tax credit, as manufacturers across the U.S. prepare to idle plants, and the company developing the controversial Goodhue Wind project in Minnesota was acquired by an Indian company in December, a move that wasn’t disclosed to state officials. (Washington Post, New York Times, Rochester Post Bulletin)

OIL: Drilling activity in North Dakota begins to slow, Exxon makes a $1.6 billion investment in the Oil Patch, and a study finds maintaining the state’s roads over the next 20 years will cost $7 billion. (Reuters, Fargo Forum, Associated Press)

ALSO: Two industry analysts question the viability of Hyperion’s proposed South Dakota oil refinery. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

CLIMATE: A new report finds taxpayers will be on the hook for more natural disaster cleanups as insurance companies move away from regions that are prone to extreme weather. (The Hill)

GRID: FERC establishes a division to protect against cyber threats to the grid. (The Hill)

POLITICS: At a roundtable in Oregon, MidAmerican CEO Greg Abel says a lack of federal energy policy is “a real detriment to the country.” (Sustainable Business Oregon)

ETHANOL: Brazilian ethanol is returning to the U.S., but not because of high corn prices – the EPA has ruled the imported fuel can meet advanced biofuel mandates. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says owners of the S.S. Badger have had enough time to find an alternative to dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan, a Bloomberg analysis finds Americans can more easily afford gasoline than almost anyone else in the world, and debunking common myths about wind power. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bloomberg, The Energy Collective)

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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