EPA: Newly sworn in administrator Gina McCarthy says the EPA “has a clear responsibility to act now on climate change,” as House Republicans reveal a plan to cut the agency’s budget by 34 percent. (The Hill)

ALSO: A closer look finds little evidence to support claims of ideological bias in the way the EPA handles information requests. (Politico)

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OIL: Investigators say nearly 48,000 barrels of oil spilled when a train carrying crude derailed in Quebec earlier this month, Keystone XL delays cut investor confidence in oil sands stocks, and 12 people are arrested in protests of an Enbridge pipeline expansion in Michigan. (Montreal Gazette, Bloomberg, MLive.com)

WIND: Following the extension of a key tax credit, the wind industry shows signs of strengthening, but doesn’t expect a repeat of 2012’s record growth. (ClimateWire)

FRACKING: Kansas considers new rules for fracking, and the EPA issues guidelines for responding to earthquakes linked to wastewater injection wells. (Associated Press, EnergyWire)

FRAC SAND: Two Minnesota agencies begin the process of developing environmental rules for frac sand mining. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: A report finds installing solar power in the Midwest has a greater pollution impact than on the coasts, and an audit of a struggling Ohio solar firm finds can’t account for how $1.3 million in public funds were spent. (Grist, Toledo Blade)

ENERGY STORAGE: How a recent FERC order could be a boon for the battery business. (Greentech Media)

COAL: Duke Energy begins work on $400 million worth of pollution upgrades to an Indiana coal plant. (Indianapolis Star)

AGRICULTURE: An appeals court upholds a Minnesota dairy farmer’s stray voltage claim against an electric cooperative. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: More Twin Cities suburbs install LED street lighting. (KSTP)

COMMENTARY: What utilities can learn from phone companies, why coal has a hit on “America’s Got Talent,” and should Minnesota embrace electric cars(Greentech Media, Grist, MN2020)

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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