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With gas and heating oil prices down, things seem to be looking up
Morning Sentinel via Portland Press Herald
According to MEMA President Jamie Py, the low oil prices help heating oil companies by reducing their delivery costs. They also decrease the likelihood that homeowners will switch from heating oil to alternatives such as wood pellets or natural gas. Heating a home with oil currently costs about the same or less than heating with natural gas, according to Py.
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MEMA Technical Education Center - MTEC



Why should you choose a career in HVAC?
MEMA
Whether it's job security and great benefits you are after, or you are just ready for a career change, take a moment to Explore the HVAC Industry to determine if this is a good career fit for you or someone you know. The future looks bright for HVAC!
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MTEC propane night classes
MEMA
A very limited number of seats remain in February's Propane + Natural Gas night classes, beginning Feb. 10! Online registration is the fastest and easiest way to ensure your seat is held.
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2014 MTEC students and alumni appear in WMTW channel 8 commercial
MEMA via Facebook
WMTW and MTEC came together to create two great new commercials, both featuring current 2014 MTEC students and some well-recognized alumni! Be sure to follow MTEC on Facebook to stay current with breaking news, course announcements and more interesting videos!
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Legislative Updates



US House poised to pass oil pipeline bill as court clears way
The Associated Press via PennEnergy
House Republicans prepared to pass legislation on Jan. 9 to authorize construction of an oil pipeline to Canada, as a state court removed an obstacle to the project and one reason behind President Barack Obama's opposition to the bill. Nevertheless, a White House spokesman reiterated Obama's threat to veto the project. The Keystone XL pipeline has been one of the biggest areas of conflict between Obama and Congress, which Republicans took full control of this week for the first time since he took office.
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Chelsea to set special town meeting for gas pipeline TIF, fire tanker
Morning Sentinel
Chelsea selectmen are expected to vote at their meeting to set a special town meeting later this month for buying a fire tanker and for creating a tax-increment financing district for nearly seven miles of natural gas pipeline. The special town meeting would be scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 21, with a public hearing on the natural gas finance district Wednesday, Jan. 14, according to Town Manager Scott Tilton.
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Keystone XL oil pipeline advances in court and in Congress
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
The new Republican-led Congress and the Nebraska Supreme Court combined on Jan. 9 to undercut President Barack Obama's opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But the White House, which issued a veto threat earlier in the week, said its "position and posture" remained unchanged, and environmentalists said Obama should kill what would amount to "a global warming disaster."
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LePage nominates his top legal adviser to PUC, names Vannoy chairman
The Bangor Daily News
Gov. Paul LePage has nominated his chief legal counsel, Carlisle Tuggey McLean, to serve on the three-member Maine Public Utilities Commission, which regulates telephone, electric, gas and water utility companies and districts in the state. She is one of two appointees the governor will nominate to the powerful commission this year.
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With Congress set to approve Keystone XL pipeline, Nebraska likely to delay project
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
The Republican-led Congress appears ready to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but no matter what actions are taken in Washington, the entire 1,179-mile project could be delayed until Nebraska signs off on the route. After several years of intense debate, the routing process is before the Nebraska Supreme Court, and depending on how the justices rule, months or years could pass before construction begins in that state.
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How long is a workweek? The latest Obamacare fight
The Bangor Daily News
The new Republican majority in Congress is out of the gate swinging at Obamacare, aiming for one of the law's most debated provisions: the employer mandate. Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with at least 50 employees must provide health insurance to their full-time workers or pay a fine. The business lobby has made no secret of its loathing for the mandate, and the requirement has already taken a hit, with President Barack Obama's administration delaying the implementation in 2013.
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Veto threats fail to deter push by Republicans
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
In command and ready for a fight, defiant Republicans ignored two White House veto threats and advanced bills in Congress on Jan. 8 curbing President Barack Obama's cherished health care overhaul and forcing construction on a proposed oil pipeline. The top House Democrat predicted her party would uphold both vetoes.
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Industry Headlines



Is it true that low gas prices hurt the economy?
The Daily Signal
Low prices at the pump are good for consumers, but are they hurting the American economy? Though oil prices fell below $50 per barrel as of recently, Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest U.S. lobbying arm for the oil and natural gas industry, expressed little concern.
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Ambitious plans become Maine contractor's downfall
Portland Press Herald
David Ireland was hashing out the deal of a lifetime. It was November 2013. After months of planning, Ireland had won an audience in Augusta with top-level executives and the board of directors of Summit Natural Gas of Maine. Summit, in a bid to become one of the largest natural gas utilities in the state, announced plans to spend $350 million over five years to bury hundreds of miles of pipe and connect thousands of new customers a year to its expanding natural gas network over the next decade.
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Amid fueling issue, Portland schools reopened Friday
WMTW-TV
Pending any further disruption, classes resumed on Jan. 8 in the Portland School District. Schools were closed on the previous day after the district's compressed natural gas buses could not refuel.
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Environmental group calls for further study of need for natural gas expansion
New Haven Register
A New England environmental group with offices in Hartford, Connecticut, is calling for further study of the need for additional natural gas transmission capacity in the region after the release of 118-page consultant's report prepared for the state of Massachusetts. Officials with the Acadia Center say the report released recently by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics fails to address why New England ratepayers and not private sector energy companies should pay for any expansion of capacity.
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With the Saudi king ailing, succession speculation begins
Maine Public Broadcasting
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is ill, the kingdom is facing the lowest oil prices in years (partly by choice), and it remains locked in a regional rivalry with Iran. Yet Crown Prince Salman, recently stepping in for the monarch to deliver an annual televised speech to the nation, sought to reassure the public that the kingdom was in steady hands.
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Convenience Store News



Federal gas tax increase builds momentum
NACS
With gasoline prices reaching their lowest levels in years, talk is brewing in Congress that it may be time to increase the federal gas tax for the first time in more than 20 years. The Hill reports that leading Republicans are now saying that a gas tax hike must not be ruled out. The GOP has long opposed increasing the current 18.4-cents-per gallon gas tax as a means for replenishing the Highway Trust Fund.
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Insurance Topics



Federated Insurance partners with J.J. Keller to offer expanded selection of risk management strategies
Federated Insurance Companies
Federated Insurance is excited to announce a partnership with leading transportation, safety, and compliance professionals J.J. Keller & Associates Inc.® to offer Federated clients another source of employee risk management training for any type or size of business. As of Jan. 1, Federated clients can access an extensive library of complimentary streaming videos and computer-based training. Clients simply log in to Federated's Shield Network® and enter required user information for instant access to nearly 500 Training on Demand videos and interactive learning courses.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    DOT eliminates daily paperwork requirement (LP Gas)
2015 NFPA 54: Top 3 areas of concern for marketers (Butane-Propane News)
Oil price drop saving consumers hundreds of dollars (WCSH-TV)
Maine and Vermont's Yankee connection: Nuclear shutdown, natural gas, dry casks (The Bangor Daily News)

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MEMA Randoms
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Christina Nava, Content Editor, 469.420.2612  
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