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Pre-qualified vendor list replacing home heating oil tanks
Maine.gov
The State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection undertakes work to replace home heating oil tanks not meeting state standards and posing a high risk of an oil spill as funding is available. In accordance with state procurement practices, the Department is hereby announcing the publication of a Request for Proposals # 201501017 to create a pre-qualified vendor list for the aforementioned goods and services.
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Legislative Updates



IRS issues claim procedures for 3 separate fuel tax credits
Petroleum Marketers Association of America
What's new? The IRS has issued special one-time claim procedures (IRS Notice 2015-3) for three separate fuel tax credits retroactively reinstated for calendar year 2014 under the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. The Act reinstated and made retroactive for calendar year 2014, the $1.00 per gallon biodiesel blender credit (available to blenders), the $0.50 cpg alternative fuel mixture credit (available to blenders) and the $0.50 alternative fuel incentive credit (available for sale or use of alternative fuels). The special procedures allow for one-time credits and payments covering the entire 2014 claim period. Reinstatement of all three credits is limited to calendar year 2014 only.
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Renewable energy faces close scrutiny at State House
Portland Press Herald
The sun was glinting off 415 solar-electric panels atop the South Portland Day's Inn as small-business owners and clean-energy activists gathered two months ago in front of television news cameras. They came to praise solar power's potential, and to call for policies to drive similar investments in Maine. Those goals are inspirational for Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, who serves as the assistant House majority leader. She's among lawmakers preparing bills this legislative session to offer rebates and other incentives for solar power.
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South Portland has allies against Portland Pipeline lawsuit
The Forecaster
Proponents of the city's Clear Skies Ordinance recently said they will help the city fight an oil and shipping industry lawsuit that seeks to overturn the law. "Certainly we were prepared for this and knew that it certainly could happen," Mary-Jane Ferrier of Protect South Portland said of the lawsuit filed Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court in Portland by Portland Pipeline Corp. and American Waterways Operators, which is the national advocate for the nation's coastal and inland tugboat, towboat and barge industry.
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Maine senators call on EPA to set biodiesel standards
Portland Press Herald
Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins want the federal Environmental Protection Agency to act on biodiesel production standards. Biodiesel is a fuel alternative typically made from vegetable oil or animal fat. King, an independent, and Collins, a Republican, are joining a bipartisan group of 30 senators calling for the EPA to set standards. The senators say delays in setting biodiesel production standards are causing plants to reduce production and lay off workers.
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Oil ban sparks lawsuit
keepMEcurrent.com
The citizen-based and environmental groups that played an integral part in getting the South Portland ban on tar-sands oil passed last July are lining up to support the city now that it's been sued. Protect South Portland, along with Environment Maine, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Conservation Law Foundation, have all publicly voiced their concern regarding the suit, as well as their plans to staunchly defend the new local law, dubbed the "Clear Sky" ordinance, which took effect in August.
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EPA inaction frustrates Maine's biodiesel producers
Maine Public Broadcasting
Maine's two senators recently signed onto a bipartisan effort aimed at providing more certainty to the biodiesel industry. Independent Angus King and Republican Susan Collins joined 30 other senators in urging the Environmental Protection Agency to act on long-delayed production standards. And at least one company in Maine will be keenly awaiting the agency's response.
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No Keystone, no problem for Canadian oil seeking ports
The Oregonian
While the debate intensifies over whether TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline should be approved, traders are quietly setting up alternative routes to ship Canadian oil from U.S. ports. At least five rail-to-marine projects have been proposed in the state of Washington that would allow the export or domestic shipment of more than 500,000 barrels a day of oil. A terminal in Oregon is operational already and is being upgraded to handle vessels that carry more than 300,000 barrels of crude.
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Legal fight looms on crude oil in Portland
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe
Environmental groups are digging in for a long fight against a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn South Portland's ban on loading crude oil onto tankers at the city's waterfront. Portland Pipe Line Corp. recently sued the city in U.S. District Court in Portland over the ban adopted last year. The city ordinance was designed to prevent the South Portland-to-Montreal oil pipeline from being reversed, which would allow Canadian oil to come into Maine.
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Bill would create tax credits for wood pellet boiler purchases
Oxford Hills Sun Journal
U.S. Sen. Angus King announced on Feb. 16 that he will introduce legislation that would give a boost to the state's emerging biomass industry by lowering the hurdle for consumers to purchase wood pellet boilers. The bill, titled the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act, would issue residential and commercial customers a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the upfront costs to install a heating system fueled by wood products.
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Insurance Topics



A bad combination: Drugs and alcohol in the workplace
Federated Insurance
Where do substance abusers work? Anywhere they can! Seventy-two percent of drug users are employed — but you won't find them working at businesses with effective drug- and alcohol-free workplace programs. Statistics on substance abusers are frightening.
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MEMA Technical Education Center - MTEC



MTEC to offer EPA A/C class in Brewer and FREE Mitsubishi training in Brunswick!
MEMA
MTEC will be holding an EPA Certification Air Conditioning class in Brewer:
Tuesday, March 10 - Friday, March 13; 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

AND

Join Roger Willett of Mitsubishi for a 3-hour training seminar on cooling and heating:
Friday, March 27, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Click here for more information.

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Industry Headlines



Stores running out of wood pellets, some rationing, as low temps continue
Bangor Daily News
A frigid winter, increased demand for wood pellets and customers who underestimated how much they would need contributed to a strain on manufacturers and suppliers, according to officials at the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. Mills across the state are working nonstop to produce pellets and get them to distributors, but some stores are running out or rationing bags to prevent customers from hoarding them, according to Bill Bell, executive director of the nonprofit corporation that promotes the industry and supports pellet manufacturers and suppliers.
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Summit Natural Gas pays customers for slow service rollout
Kennebec Journal via Portland Press Herald
Summit Natural Gas of Maine paid more than $100,000 in reimbursements to customers in the Kennebec Valley after missing nearly 400 deadlines for service. The affected customers were told in June that they would have natural gas service by Nov. 1, according to a document that the company filed recently with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the state's energy regulator.
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IEA: Oil to remain around $55 this year
MarketWatch
Don't be fooled: Oil prices might have staged impressive rallies over the recent weeks, but that could be it for this year's price rebound. In its recent "Medium-Term Oil Market Report," the International Energy Agency said it sees Brent oil averaging $55 a barrel in 2015, below even Brent's currently depressed level of $58.
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Angus King tours Mt. Abram renewable energy projects
Maine Public Broadcasting News
Maine Sen. Angus King recently visited the Mt. Abram Ski Resort, where he got a look at the operation's cutting-edge renewable energy upgrades that have reduced its carbon footprint by 760,000 pounds so far. The clean energy improvements include a 245-kilowatt solar project, a biomass heating system for the base lodge and a high-efficiency water pump station with a variable-speed drive that has quadrupled the resort's snow-making ability.
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University of Maine at Farmington to build biomass heating plant
Biomass Magazine
At the end of January, the University of Maine at Farmington received approval from the University of Maine System Board Of Trustees to move forward with plans to construct an $11 million biomass heat plant on campus. The biomass heating system will reduce the university's carbon footprint by replacing up to 95 percent of its current fossil fuel use with wood chips.
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Buy the heat, lease the heater: Will a new way of keeping Maine warm catch on?
Bangor Daily News
Plummeting oil prices this winter changed the economics of switching off the fuel, but at least two companies in Maine are seeking to change the economics of heating itself. The Orono-based PelletCo and Portland-based Alodyne have pioneered new financing methods that have customers pay for heat energy, rather than paying for fuel, while their companies lease the heating units to the building owners. Getting to understand such arrangements leads to a topic that can get complicated, fast.
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Consultant urges Unity groups, residents to invest in solar projects
Morning Sentinel
Residents and business owners in Unity are being invited to invest in solar power projects in the hope that utility bills can be reduced and the town can become more attractive to business. Energy consultant Steve Kahl said he thinks the time is right for investment in solar energy projects, since the 30 percent federal solar tax credit expires in 2016 and low interest rates make now a good time to buy bonds for capital projects.
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Maine watching other states on thermal energy credits
Bangor Daily News
As other New England states add incentives for heating systems that use renewable energy sources, Maine's top energy official said he's taking a wait-and-see approach. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have both added thermal energy to their renewable portfolio standards, which in Maine provides a subsidized market for electricity generators using renewable power.
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Proulx Oil merges with Bourque & Sons
Foster's Daily Democrat
Proulx Oil & Propane, a family-owned energy company based in Newmarket, has joined forces with J.A. Bourque & Sons, a 78-year-old oil company in Manchester. The combined company will provide heating oil and propane delivery, air conditioning and heating system installation and 24-hour service for homeowners from southern Maine and the Seacoast through central New Hampshire and the White Mountain region.
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Environmentalists dig in for long fight over Maine crude oil
The Associated Press via Maine Sun Journal
Environmental groups are digging in for a long fight against a federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn South Portland's ban on loading crude oil onto tankers at the city's waterfront. The Portland Pipe Line Corp. recently sued the city in U.S. District Court in Portland over the ban adopted last year. The city ordinance was designed to prevent the South Portland-to-Montreal oil pipeline from being reversed, which would allow Canadian oil to come into Maine.
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Convenience Store News



Cigarette taxes and cigarette smuggling by state, 2013
Tax Foundation
Public policies often have unintended consequences that outweigh their benefits. One consequence of high state cigarette tax rates has been increased smuggling as criminals procure discounted packs from low-tax states to sell in high-tax states. Growing cigarette tax differentials have made cigarette smuggling both a national problem and a lucrative criminal enterprise.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    LePage administration focuses energy plan on lowering costs and weatherizing homes (Maine Public Broadcasting)
What's ahead for the oil market? (Energy Intelligence)
Portland Pipe Line sues South Portland over ban on loading crude oil (Portland Press Herald)
EPA approves new woodstove emissions standards (Portland Press Herald)

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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