Daily digest

EPA modifies claim on fracking’s drinking water impact

FRACKING:
• Citing significant data gaps, the U.S. EPA abandons its contentious assertion that hydraulic fracturing does not cause “widespread, systemic” problems with drinking water, saying that it can have impacts in “certain circumstances.” (Greenwire)
• As the debate continues, “Ohio drillers are smashing shale production records.” (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register)

PIPELINES: North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault meet to discuss ways of reducing tension between officers and pipeline protesters. (Minnesota Public Radio)

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RENEWABLES: A Minnesota town gets 22 percent of its electricity through wind, solar and hydro. (West Central Tribune)

COAL:
• Workers in Ohio’s coal country are hopeful that job prospects will improve with the growth in the natural gas industry. (NPR)
• Murray Energy’s outspoken CEO Robert Murray praises President-elect Donald Trump for picking the head of ExxonMobil for secretary of state. (Columbus Business First)

WIND: Nearly 200 people show up to a zoning board meeting in South Dakota as local officials discussed potential changes to regulating wind projects. (Watertown Public Opinion)

BIOFUELS:
• Iowa ethanol producers are concerned about some of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks for energy positions. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• Missouri researchers say switchgrass, which is commonly used for biofuel, improves soil quality and can be grown on farms particularly in the Midwest that have lost fertile topsoil. (news release)

CLIMATE:
• Scientists have begun a “feverish attempt” to copy reams of government climate data onto independent servers out of fear that it could vanish under the Trump administration. (Washington Post)
• The Department of Energy says it will not comply with the Trump transition team’s request for names of employees who have worked on climate change issues. (Reuters)

OIL AND GAS: Federal workplace safety officials are investigating a western Kansas oil field explosion that injured five workers, two of them critically. (Associated Press)

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TRANSPORTATION: Researchers at the University of Michigan say the U.S. EPA’s recent affirmation of higher fuel efficiency standards in vehicles will likely result in large emission reductions and less fuel used even if the vehicle mix stays the same. (news release)

COMMENTARY:
• Ohio Gov. John Kasich shouldn’t let big utilities “slow and stymie a clean energy transition that is as inevitable as it is necessary.” (Vox)
• Illinois needs better strategies in place to protect local communities and workers as it deals with uneconomic nuclear plants into the future. (State Journal-Register)

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