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If you like your $2 gasoline and heating oil, you can keep it
MEMA President Jamie Py via Maine Wire
Well not so much. The Obama Administration through the EPA issued the 2nd punch into the oil and gas development industry by issuing rules regulating fugitive methane emissions from drilling. Claiming that methane emissions are a serious threat to climate change. Recently, the EPA issued rules lowering the ozone standard to a level that would make Yellowstone national park fail on a hot summer day due to the off gassing of its pine trees. I am not making that up.
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Legislative Updates



Governor declares state of emergency, closes all state offices
Maine.gov
With a severe winter storm bearing down on Maine, Governor Paul R. LePage has declared a state of emergency and announced that all State offices will be closed today, Jan. 27. "The amount of snow and the high winds, along with blowing and drifting snow, makes this storm dangerous for many Mainers," said the Governor. "We want everyone to stay off the roads and stay safe."
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State of the Union: Obama address sparse on energy
PennEnergy
U.S. President Barack Obama kept the topic of energy brief during his recent 2015 State of the Union address, and instead focused primarily on climate change, economic proposals and the promise of vetoes. The president spoke to the nation's positioning in oil and gas and renewables, like wind, but overall kept his commentary on energy sparse. Key industry topics such as the Keystone XL pipeline, the EPA's Clean Power Plan and America's natural gas boom were each alluded to, but never directly discussed.
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Winter energy crisis averted, but long-term strategy still needed
The Bangor Daily News
Mainers can be forgiven for thinking that the energy crisis predicted for this winter was overblown. Instead of a double-digit increase in electricity prices, which experts warned was forthcoming, the Public Utilities Commission recently approved double-digit decreases for standard offer customers of Emera and Central Maine Power Co.
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Chelsea voters approve natural gas TIF district
Morning Sentinel
Residents at a special town meeting on Jan. 21 approved a tax increment financing district for a natural gas pipeline that will allow the town to set aside new tax revenue for economic development and infrastructure projects. Nearly all of the 50 residents at the special town meeting in the Chelsea Elementary School gymnasium voted to create the tax increment financing, or TIF, district for the pipeline installed over the last two years.
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Miss an issue of MEMA Randoms? Click here to visit MEMA Randoms archive page.


Poliquin: Natural gas could help save mills
The Associated Press via WABI-TV
Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine is touting increased access to natural gas as a way to boost his state's ailing paper production industry. The 2nd District congressman says the high cost of electricity has contributed to mill closures and job losses in the state's paper industry, which lost about 1,000 workers in 2014.
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The EPA's newest strategy to sneakily restrict fracking, drilling
The Daily Signal
Recently the Environmental Protection Agency announced major new regulations on the emissions of methane into the air from oil and gas production. It calls methane a "potent" pollutant and its new rules would require a 45 percent reduction by 2025 from 2012 levels. Most Americans support these new rules, according to polling from environmental groups. This isn't surprising. Methane sounds like a dirty and dangerous pollutant and even deadly if leaked into water or the air.
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Kinder Morgan pipeline is best energy-supply proposal for Massachusetts
Sentinel & Enterprise
In early January, most of Massachusetts experienced the lowest temperatures in years, with below-zero temperatures in many parts of the state. Residents and businesses, already reeling from the impact of increased energy prices to heat and light their homes and power their companies, are facing another costly heating season.
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Poliquin: Speed up the gas pipeline permitting process
Maine Public Broadcasting
Maine 2nd District Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin is voicing support for legislation making its way through Congress that's designed to speed up the permitting process for natural gas pipelines. The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 12 months to approve a project after receiving a completed application.
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MEMA Technical Education Center - MTEC



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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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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Industry Headlines



Residents raise questions about product in pipeline
keepMEcurrent.com
Several South Portland residents active in the successful fight to ban so-called tar-sands oil from the city are now concerned that the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line is pumping something other than crude oil to Montreal. Resident Robert Sellin recently sent an email both to the City Council and to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection voicing his belief that the local pipeline is sending natural gas liquids to Canada along with the crude oil it's licensed to pump.
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'Reformulated gas' to make a comeback in Maine
Portland Press Herald
Gas stations in seven southern and coastal counties in Maine will be required to sell cleaner-burning "reformulated gas" beginning June 1 as part of an agreement between the state and federal governments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that only reformulated gas — a blend designed to reduce emissions of air pollutants — can be sold in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox and Lincoln counties starting in June.
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Changing marketplace: As gas prices drop, a maker of alternative fuel adapts
MaineBiz
So you've built this smart little company, manufacturing a renewable fuel from recycled fry grease. Your oil burns clean, dramatically reducing carbon emissions, is competitive with the price of petroleum and can be produced with zero waste and pollutants; it even provides all the fuel you need to run your plant. It's got real potential. The government supports it with tax credits and fuel-blending mandates, and the future is starting to look pretty bright. Then the bottom drops out of the oil barrel, and the federal subsidies expire or are delayed, leaving the emerging biofuel industry out in the cold. What do you do?
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Is $5 a gallon gas on its way? This expert thinks so
The Daily Signal
You might want to consider filling up your tanks, America. One expert is warning $5 per gallon gas is on its way. John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil, warns that we should "[e]njoy the price, because it's going to go back up." "The next round of high prices is likely to start later this year, as crude rebounds to the $80s and $90s, perhaps pushing to the $100 level by late in the year or early next," Hofmeister told USA Today.
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Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline friends, foes gear up for battle in 2015
The Republican
Friends and foes of a high-pressure, high capacity natural gas pipeline that would cross portions of Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties on its way to a distribution hub in Dracut are gearing up for a fight in 2015. With a new Massachusetts governor and a new energy and environment czar in Republican Charlie Baker's cabinet, regional opponents of Kinder Morgan's Northeast Energy Direct are assessing their options, gathering information and planning a series of public events, including a Berkshire County-wide educational forum on Jan. 31.
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Convenience Store News



Retailers lose top court case on swipe fees
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
The Supreme Court on Jan. 20 rejected a challenge from retailers who claim the Federal Reserve allows banks to charge businesses too much for handling debit card transactions. The justices let stand a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the Fed's cap of about 24 cents per transaction on so-called "swipe fees." That ruling was a setback for merchants who pay the fees to banks every time a customer uses a debit card to make a payment.
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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.

    New England gets windfall from plummeting heating oil (The Associated Press via The Boston Globe)
US shale industry will survive new era of lower oil prices (By Lucy Wallwork)
Major gas pipeline plan continues to change course (The Daily Times Chronicle)
Outgoing PUC Chairman Tom Welch reflects on 15 years guiding energy policy in Maine (MaineBiz)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

 



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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