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Tests confirm petroleum coke dust blowing onto Detroit homes

POLLUTION: “If it’s on my countertops, it’s going into my lungs.” New testing shows dust from a petroleum coke pile is finding its way into homes in a Detroit neighborhood. Small particles of the material, a byproduct of tar sands oil refining, can cause respiratory problems and worsen asthma. (Detroit Free Press)

TRANSPORTATION: A lack of financial incentives for electric vehicle makers or buyers could be hurting Ohio’s ability to grow an EV market, according to a report from the nonprofit Clean Fuels Ohio. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Inspiring Efficiency Awards recognize Midwest leaders who deliver groundbreaking advancements in energy efficiency. Apply or provide a nomination today.***

EFFICIENCY: A bill to “reduce the impact” of Ohio’s energy efficiency mandate on utilities is expected to be introduced in September. FirstEnergy Corp. has been leading the charge against the the unanimously passed 2008 state law. (CentralOhio.com)

MUNICIPALIZATION: An eastern Iowa city thinks it might be able to save $220 million over 25 years by forming a municipal electric utility. Alliant Energy, whose subsidiary Interstate Power & Light Co. currently serves Marion, Iowa, disputed the numbers in the city’s preliminary feasibility study. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

NUCLEAR: A major upgrade to Minnesota’s oldest nuclear power plant is finally finished — and way over budget. The cost of the project, which boosted output by 12 percent, is $267 million, or 83 percent, over budget, and Xcel Energy says the final cost will be even higher. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TRANSMISSION: A Wisconsin town wants Xcel Energy to post a $2 million bond for potential road damages from CapX2020 transmission line construction. An Xcel official said the utility has granted bonds before but never as high as the one requested by Onalaska, Wisc., town officials. (LaCrosse Tribune)

FRAC SAND: Heavy rains and inexperienced companies are contributing to sediment pollution from frac sand mines in Wisconsin. State authorities are scrambling to respond to a rash of water violations. Meanwhile, a first-of-its-kind study is underway in Chippewa County, Wisconsin, to measure frac sand mining’s impact on groundwater and surface water levels. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Madison Capital Times)

CLIMATE: From Missouri to Ohio, utilities, coal producers and others are contemplating the impact and awaiting specifics of President Obama’s climate plan. Also: Wisconsin’s We Energies taking a “wait and see” approach. (The Springfield News-Leader, Mansfield News Journal, Racine Journal Times)

FRACKING: Portage County in northeastern Ohio is the state’s No. 1 destination for fracking wastewater. State records show more than 2.3 million barrels of brine and other wastes were injected below the county in 2011. (Akron Beacon Journal)

ETHANOL: Iowa City wants to hear proposals from companies that could convert municipal landfill garbage into ethanol. And a shuttered ethanol plant in Oshkosh, Wisc., will re-open this fall under new ownership. (Cedar Rapids Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: David Kolb writes in support of a Michigan ballot initiative to ban fracking in the state. “[T]he crux of the argument hinges on the fresh water contaminated by the process, not to mention the environmental destruction inherent in the process.” (MLive.com)

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