RURAL ENERGY: With the farm bill’s expiration on Monday night, USDA programs that help fund renewable energy development in rural areas are in jeopardy. (E&E Daily)

WIND: A congressional analysis says extending the wind production tax credit will cost billions of dollars over the next few years. (The Hill)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today for the Midwest’s largest energy efficiency event, the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, taking place January 14-16 in Chicago. Use Code MWEN25off for $25 off just for Midwest Energy News readers.***

OIL: A state report says people who come into contact with water from Michigan’s Kalamazoo River likely won’t suffer long-term health effects despite ongoing cleanup from a 2010 oil spill. (MLive)

ALSO: The federal shutdown will slow oil exploration in North Dakota, another large oil formation is drawing interest in the state, and a proposed West Coast rail terminal would help ship Bakken crude to refineries. (Forum News Service, Associated Press)

FRACKING: Representatives from 20 state Chambers of Commerce write the EPA calling for fracking oversight to be left to state regulators. (Midwest Energy News)

FRAC SAND: A University of Iowa grant will help study the health impact of frac sand mining in the state. (Decorah Journal)

POLITICS: Ohio’s EPA director says the recent high-profile resignation of an agency regulator was a “strategic decision” and had nothing to do with pressure from the governor’s office, and the head of the Senate energy committee wants to keep “organized PR” out of the next FERC nomination process. (Columbus Dispatch, The Hill)

SOLAR: An annual solar tour in Ohio begins tomorrow, featuring 200 open houses and 100 tour sites throughout the state. (News-Herald)

COAL: A petition in Illinois targets a state-run website that promotes the coal industry to kids. (Huffington Post)

KEYSTONE XL: Pipeline proponents try to ease safety concerns in Nebraska. (Lincoln Journal Star)

MILITARY: How renewable energy is saving lives in Afghanistan. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY: Six perspectives on the future of utilities. (Greentech Media)

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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