EPA: Whoever fills Lisa Jackson’s shoes at the EPA will be given a long list of expected rules and be warned of legal battles needed to implement them. (ClimateWire)

OIL: Operators of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, site of a major 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, will pay $1.4 billion to the government in a settlement of criminal and civil claims. (New York Times)

ALSO: A new report finds 16 spills over the last decade, accounting for 2.4 million gallons of crude oil and other hazardous materials, were caused by flooding or riverbed erosion. (Associated Press)

WIND: The battle to renew tax credits for the wind industry has strained relations between advocacy groups and utilities, with Exelon having already broken ranks and now Xcel Energy “reviewing our relationship” with AWEA. (National Journal)

ALSO: Revival of the wind tax credit boosts prospects for wind farms in Minnesota and Nebraska; and vertical turbines atop a government building in Toledo remain idle as the companies that built and installed them went out of business. (St. Cloud Times, Lincoln Journal Star, Toledo Blade)

FRACKING: A study conducted by the New York Health Department finds fracking can be conducted safely in that state. (New York Times)

SOLAR: The roof of the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan is deflated, and will be replaced with a solid structure equipped with solar panels. (Detroit Free Press)

MEDIA: Climate change coverage in the news media continued to decline in 2012; bucking that trend, Minnesota Public Radio has launched a weekly on-air and online feature discussing climate change. (Climate Central, Minnesota Public Radio)

COAL: Nineteen people were killed in coal mining accidents in 2012, just one shy of 2009’s record low year for fatalities. in the industry. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: Our “insane” wind policy, and a post-Christmas editorial from the New York Times listing climate change as a top priority for President Obama in his second term. (Washington Post, New York Times)

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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