FRAC SAND: At a packed Minnesota Legislature hearing, residents and local officials call for a moratorium on frac sand mining; and a company pursuing a frac sand mine on a protected waterway in Wisconsin refuses to withdraw its application. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Madison Capital Times)

NUCLEAR: Wisconsin’s Kewaunee nuclear plant will shut down sometime in the next few months, after a review finds the closure won’t harm grid reliability. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

***SPONSORED LINK: Early-bird tickets now available for the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge April 4 in Chicago.  Keynote speakers include DOE Assistant Secretary Danielson, clean tech investor Ira Ehrenpreis.***

COAL: Recent studies find coal dust may be more harmful than previously thought. (Midwest Energy News)

KEYSTONE XL: In a shift in strategy, TransCanada officials say the Keystone XL pipeline will have no measurable impact on climate change. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE: Climate activist Bill McKibben does a Q&A with the Minneapolis Star Tribune ahead of two appearances in St. Paul this week.

ILLINOIS: A consumer group’s survey finds significant savings for communities that switched to municipal aggregation, and a longtime energy efficiency advocate is named director of the Illinois Power Agency. (Decatur Herald-Review, Crain’s Chicago Business)

MICHIGAN: A battery plant that was ordered to refund a portion of its federal stimulus grant has not applied for the $125 million in state tax credits it was awarded, and a report from utility regulators finds the state’s renewable energy standard has led to nearly $1.8 billion in development through 2012. (, FierceEnergy)

ETHANOL: U.S. producers object to European ethanol tariffs that amount to about 25 cents per gallon (Bloomberg/Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WIND: South Dakota’s Senate approves new financial incentives for wind farms. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: David Roberts defends activists’ “unreasonable” demands to block the Keystone XL pipeline, and how the 2012 election changed the political calculus for climate change action. (Grist, Quartz)

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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