OIL: Opposition builds against an oil sands pipeline expansion in Minnesota, and federal regulators launch an inspection “blitz” targeting rail cars carrying crude from North Dakota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Associated Press)

RENEWABLES: A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says wind and solar power will be cost-competitive with natural gas by 2025 in some parts of the U.S. (CleanTechnica)

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TRANSMISSION: A new project seeks to unite the three U.S. grids, billions in new transmission lines will be needed to tap the nation’s wind resources, and a new line is proposed in South Dakota. (Midwest Energy News, The Oklahoman, Rapid City Journal)

ALSO: A proposed transmission line and substation to serve the Bakken oil patch is proposed in the middle of a historic North Dakota battlefield, prompting a preservation fight. (Bismarck Tribune)

FRACKING: A wastewater well near Youngstown, Ohio is linked to another 98 earthquakes; and a ballot measure to ban fracking in Youngstown has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot but still may not proceed. (Columbus Dispatch, Youngstown Vindicator)

COAL: Duke Energy will stop burning coal at an Indiana power plant by 2018 in a settlement with environmental groups, and a billboard campaign targets Indianapolis-area coal plants. (Associated Press, Indianapolis Star)

OHIO: Democratic lawmakers want Gov. John Kasich to apologize for a spokesman’s comments related to the ongoing controversy over an EPA official’s resignation, and consumer groups say an investigation of the state’s electricity market has been skewed toward utilities. (Columbus Dispatch)

POLLUTION: A new MIT study says air pollution is to blame for as many as 200,000 premature deaths each year in the U.S. (Voice of America)

SMART METERS: ComEd will begin installing 60,000 smart meters in Chicago’s western suburbs. (Chicago Tribune)

NET METERING: A state report shows participation in Michigan’s net metering program is up 55 percent over 2011, and a South Dakota group says residents there should be paid more for power they contribute to the grid. (CBS Detroit, Associated Press)

ELECTRIC CARS: The NHTSA will extend a Michigan pilot program to integrate electric cars into the grid for six months. (Detroit News)

BIOMASS: A new Wisconsin power plant will be fueled by the state’s forest industry waste. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: A carbon tax America could live with. (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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