Daily digest

Oil sands spill in Arkansas revives pipeline debate

OIL: An oil sands pipeline spill in Arkansas forces the evacuation of 22 homes and revives the Keystone XL debate; an eyewitness video shows oil flowing down a residential street; ExxonMobil confirms the pipeline was carrying dilbit, the same mixture of crude oil and chemicals that spilled into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010. (Washington Post, YouTube, InsideClimate News)

ALSO: The Detroit Free Press investigates Michigan’s aging natural gas pipeline infrastructure, finding the state has more than 3,100 miles of aging iron pipelines that are prone to corrosion that can cost $1 million per mile to replace; and has only six inspectors to oversee the state’s entire 56,000 miles of pipelines.

***SPONSORED LINK: The best Midwest clean energy startups vie for $250,000 in prizes at the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge April 4 in Chicago.***

COAL: Even as coal-fired power plants are closing nationwide, the coal industry is still very much alive — and facing environmental scrutiny — in Illinois mining country, and environmental groups seek Supreme Court review of a decision that scuttled the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. (Midwest Energy News, The Hill)

GASOLINE: The oil industry pushes back against proposed EPA rules to lower the amount of sulfur in gasoline, which are projected to prevent 2,400 premature deaths per year; and automakers say the low-sulfur gasoline will be critical for meeting higher fuel economy targets. (Washington Post, Detroit Free Press)

WIND: Conservation groups object to plans for more wind turbines along the shores of Lake Erie, an Ohio wind project is mired in legal disputes over who will pay to decommission the turbines, and a Michigan offshore wind research project is running out of funding. (Toledo Blade, Mansfield News Journal, MiBiz)

TRANSMISSION: MidAmerican Energy and ITC Holdings proceed with plans for transmission upgrades in Iowa, the projects are among several that we wrote about last summer aimed to make it easier to deliver wind power to the grid. (Des Moines Register, Midwest Energy News)

ENERGY STORAGE: A new process may make it economical to store excess electricity from wind and solar installations by using it to produce hydrogen. (Climate Central)

COAL ASH: Ameren is disposing truckloads of coal ash into a former limestone mine in Missouri. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

NATURAL GAS: The shale boom helps drive expansion of the fertilizer industry in Iowa. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

EFFICIENCY: Indiana schools save millions of dollars through energy conservation programs. (Elkhart Truth)

COMMENTARY: How owning a coal plant may become profitable again, and why rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline could “do Canada a favor.” (Wall Street Journal, New York Times)

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