OHIO: Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a two-year “freeze” of the state’s renewable energy and efficiency laws, passed by House lawmakers yesterday, making Ohio the first state to substantially roll back renewable energy requirements. (Columbus Dispatch, New York Times)

FRACKING: Illinois lawmakers reject a bill, introduced over the holiday weekend, that would have bypassed the state’s rulemaking process on fracking. (Chicago Tribune)

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EPA: As carbon regulations loom, North Dakota still clings to coal. (Midwest Energy News)

• Insiders say President Obama will use executive authority to enact carbon-cutting policies. (New York Times)
• In a visit to St. Paul, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touts energy efficiency as a means to reach carbon goals. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Industry groups are already fighting carbon rules for existing plants, expected to be released next week. (Politico)
• A report finds Ohio-based American Electric Power has the highest carbon emissions among U.S. utilities. (Forbes)

COAL: A unit of the Prairie State coal plant is shut down after an accident damages cooling equipment, and a Missouri technical college retires its coal-fired steam plant in favor of a geothermal system. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, news release)

COAL ASH: A lawsuit claims a Kentucky utility has been dumping coal ash into the Ohio River on an almost daily basis. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

SOLAR: Ikea says its new solar array atop a suburban Kansas City store will be the largest in the state of Kansas. (Kansas City Star)

UTILITIES: Barclays downgrades its bond rating for utilities in response to the threat from rooftop solar, FirstEnergy says “ulterior motives” are driving a challenge to its cold-weather surcharges. (Business Insider, Columbus Business First)

NUCLEAR: Illinois lawmakers advance a resolution supporting nuclear power (background on the bill here). (Associated Press)

BIOENERGY: A new $60 million biodigester in Missouri will convert chicken manure into energy and fertilzer. (Sedalia Democrat)

TRANSMISSION: ATC plans $100 million in power line upgrades in Wisconsin. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: The U.S. Chamber has a long track record of being wrong about the impact of environmental regulations. (NRDC Switchboard)

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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