OIL: A former North Dakota governor calls oil train explosions “a ridiculous threat” and calls for tougher oversight, and 911 recordings show crew members of a train that exploded near Casselton last month thought they were hauling ethanol. (Bismarck Tribune, Fargo Forum)

CLEANTECH: A new co-working hub in Chicago aims to help attract more venture capital to clean energy technology startups. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2014 Clean Energy Challenge business plan competition awards over $500,000 in prizes to the Midwest’s best clean tech researchers, entrepreneurs and students! Apply today! Presented by Clean Energy Trust. #StartUpNow***

EPA: The EPA publishes carbon emission rules for new power plants; Republicans declare the regulations will “increase poverty in coal country.” (The Hill)

COLD SNAP: Wind farms helped keep the lights on as some conventional power plants failed during the recent record cold, and utility bills will likely spike following record natural gas use in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and other states. (EarthTechling, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Associated Press, KCCI)

ALSO: Michigan regulators will investigate a power outage caused by a December ice storm that affected 660,000 customers. (Detroit Free Press)

• An industry report finds drilling could add 44,000 Midwest jobs by 2025. (Columbus Business First)
• A drilling tax proposal by Ohio Republicans will not lead to a significant reduction in income taxes, as an industry rep warns higher tax rates would scare off drillers. (Columbus Dispatch, Toledo Blade)
• Democrats in a Michigan county say local officials are “sitting on their hands” when it comes to drilling safeguards. (Livingston Daily)

NUCLEAR: More than 300 environmental groups reject calls from climate scientists to embrace nuclear power. (Greenwire)

ETHANOL: Gov. Terry Branstad hints Iowans will make the renewable fuel mandate an election issue in 2016, and an industry report finds a surge in renewable fuel credits is not to blame for higher gasoline prices. (Des Moines Register)

WIND: Two bird groups oppose plans to build a wind turbine at an Ohio National Guard facility along Lake Erie. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

MICHIGAN: The Sierra Club gives Gov. Rick Snyder a failing grade on energy and environmental issues. (MLive)

OHIO: Employees of a closed aluminum smelter protest at American Electric Power, saying the utility and state regulators could have done more to prevent the plant’s closing. (Columbus Dispatch)

BIOENERGY: A $100 million project in Missouri will convert hog waste into energy. (Associated Press)

HYDROPOWER: Generation from six Missouri River dams was below average for 2013. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: Eight reasons conservatives should love renewable energy. (Forbes)

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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