CLIMATE: President Obama is expected to discuss plans to curb carbon emissions from existing power plants during the State of the Union address next week. (Wall Street Journal)

ALSO: Greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants fell 4.6 percent in 2011, but still account for roughly 2/3 of emissions from stationary sources, according to a new EPA report. (Associated Press)

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TECHNOLOGY: Heidi Lubin, an avid outdoorswoman with experience resolving conflicts in Africa and closer to home, now leads a Chicago start-up that promises a better electric motor without relying on rare earth materials. (Midwest Energy News)

FRAC SAND: The mayor of a Minnesota town near the heart of the frac sand boom takes a second job lobbying for the industry, as state lawmakers consider a moratorium while they further study the mining boom’s potential impact. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Politics in Minnesota)

OIL: North Dakota oil makes its way to the East Coast, as school groups and others warn a proposed tax restructuring in the state could hurt future revenue; and FirstEnergy will pay more than $200,000 in a settlement over a small oil spill that took place six years ago. (Bloomberg Businessweek, Associated Press, Toledo Blade)

FRACKING: Documents show a drilling company CEO ordered 20,000 gallons of wastewater to be dumped into a storm drain in Youngstown, Ohio; and a review finds state oversight of drilling has improved, but inspectors are still stretched thin. (Youngstown Vindicator, ProPublica)

PIPELINES: A GAO report finds federal regulators lack clear guidelines for how companies should respond to pipeline accidents. (InsideClimate News)

TRANSPORTATION: The Defense Department plans to spend $20 million studying vehicle-to-grid technology. (Greenwire)

NUCLEAR: DTE Energy will have to accommodate an endangered snake as it expands a Michigan nuclear plant; and against long odds, a Minnesota tech company pursues cold fusion. (Detroit Free Press, Minnesota Public Radio)

ETHANOL: A coalition of environmental and fiscal groups continue to push the EPA to lower its ethanol mandate. (Lincoln Journal Star)

EFFICIENCY: Ypsilanti, Michigan hopes to convert its streetlights to LEDs. (

COMMENTARY: Is nuclear power doomed to dwindle? (Scientific American)

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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