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Major new solar arrays go online in Ohio and Minnesota

EFFICIENCY: Illinois’ new building code — one of the strictest in the U.S. — went into effect on January 1, creating headaches for some home builders, but also opportunities for others in the construction sector. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: Minnesota’s largest solar array goes online, a new 1.1 MW solar project is nearly complete in an area of Cleveland known as the “Forgotten Triangle,” and an Omaha homeowner is forced to remove $40,000 worth of solar panels from his roof after a legal dispute with his homeowners association. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Omaha World-Herald)

FRACKING: An EPA study of fracking’s impact on groundwater will have significant limitations; a panel to study drilling in Ohio state parks is more than a year behind schedule; and leasing activity continues in Illinois, with the state legislature expected to take up regulations this spring. (Associated Press, Columbus Dispatch, Springfield State Journal-Register)

CONGRESS: What to expect in federal energy policy in the coming year. (InsideClimate News)

KEYSTONE XL: Nebraska’s final impact report on Keystone XL finds no major environmental issues with the pipeline’s new route. (Omaha World-Herald)

WIND: Despite an extension of federal tax credits, other obstacles continue to hold back wind energy development in South Dakota. (Sioux Falls Argus Leaders)

COAL: Neighbors are frustrated with the slow pace of reclamation at an Illinois coal mine site. (Champaign News-Gazette)

TRANSPORTATION: A study finds ridership of intercity rail in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan grew 35 percent over the last five years. (Chicago Sun-Times)

COMMENTARY: Where does Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel stand on climate change? (Grist)

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