TRANSPORTATION: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, an Illinois Republican and strong proponent of high-speed rail, announces he’s stepping down. (Washington Post)

OIL: Residents of Marktown, a historic neighborhood just outside Chicago surrounded on all sides by industry, worry their community’s days are numbered as BP expands its neighboring Whiting refinery. (Midwest Energy News)

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OHIO: Todd Snitchler, chairman of Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission, has ties to ALEC, a conservative group that supports repeal of state renewable energy standards. (Associated Press)

BIOFUELS: A court ruling striking down the EPA’s cellulosic biofuel mandate isn’t expected to have a significant impact on the industry, and an oil and auto industry-backed study finds E15 damages cars’ fuel systems. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Greenwire)

NATURAL GAS: Low natural gas prices make it harder for nuclear plants to compete, and Wisconsin will replace coal boilers with natural gas at several state facilities. (Wall Street Journal, Wisconsin State Journal)

FRACKING: A report finds North Dakota is faring better than other states when it comes to drilling oversight, but still needs to hire more inspectors; and an Ohio town seeks to purchase a 44-acre parcel over a city aquifer to protect it from drilling. (Fargo Forum, Canton Repository)

FRAC SAND: a Minnesota frac sand processing plant that was built without proper permits agrees to let the state use the site to collect data on air quality. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WIND: Suzlon’s chairman predicts a “flat” market for wind turbines in 2013, South Dakota lawmakers push new incentives for wind farms, Michigan regulators will decide a dispute between a property owner and a co-op over how to safely connect a wind turbine to the grid, and researchers haven’t given up on the vertical axis wind turbine. (Bloomberg, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Marquette Mining Journal, Scientific American)

CLIMATE: Iowa farmers recognize the effects of climate change, but may still be reluctant to support efforts to fight it. (New York Times)

KEYSTONE XL: House Republicans site turmoil in North Africa to push for approval of Keystone XL, and Native American activists protest the pipeline in Nebraska. (The Hill, Omaha World-Herald)

MICHIGAN: The University of Michigan makes progress toward its aggressive sustainability goals. (

COMMENTARY: An unsophisticated reply to the “sophisticated objection” to climate action. (Grist)

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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