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Our view: CMP fee hike undercuts renewable-energy push
Portland Press Herald
Use less, pay more. That's the upshot of a proposal by Central Maine Power Co. now before the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The idea, part of CMP's five-year rate plan, would force customers who generate some of their own electricity to pay higher monthly service charges. CMP says the increase is necessary to cover the company's forthcoming capital projects in the face of lagging demand for electricity.
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Legislative Updates



CMP, Augusta battle about excise tax legislation
Kennebec Journal
A bill that could cost the city of Augusta about $200,000 a year but bring other municipalities a share of that revenue drew accusations of retribution by legislation and unfairness in taxation recently. A bill backed by Augusta-headquartered Central Maine Power Co., which under current law registers and pays about $300,000 a year in excise tax on nearly 500 company vehicles to the city of Augusta, instead would have utilities pay excise taxes where their vehicles are located.
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Hydro dispute may test state role in private business deals
Portland Press Herald
How much power does the state have to dictate terms to a private company if it claims the public interest is at stake? That's the question at the heart of a bill before the Legislature that would force the largest owner of hydroelectric dams in Maine to hand over a portion of its profits to the owner of the paper mill in East Millinocket, which has been idle since late January with a skeleton crew. More than 200 mill workers are jobless in the meantime.
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New Hampshire town shows support for potential tar sands pipeline
Vermont Public Radio
At several town meetings held this recently in New Hampshire, voters weighed in on non-binding resolutions opposing the flow of tar sands oil through their communities.But the town of Lancaster, on the Vermont border, sent a resounding message of support for a pipeline company some worry will carry tar sands oil from Canada to Maine.
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 MEMA Special Events

Date Event More Information
March 25 MEMA Day on the Hill Hall of Flags, State House — Augusta
March 26 Angus Energy presents Modern Art: The Evolution of the Energy IndustryMEMA Headquarters
March 27 Angus Energy presents Modern Art: The Evolution of the Energy IndustryBangor Location TBD
April 16 Federated Insurance presents 'Designated Risk Management' MEMA Headquarters
June 22-24 60th Annual Convention The Samoset Inn & Spa
Aug. 25 32 Annual J Garrie Murray Golf Classic Penobscot Valley Country Club, Orono Maine



Industry Headlines



Is Canada the next energy superpower?
The Christian Science Monitor
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said his country is on the verge of becoming an energy superpower. While the United States mulls its options for energy hegemony, a recent free-trade deal with South Korea and pipeline developments suggest Canada may beat it to the punch. The International Energy Agency said that, despite recent volatility, Asian economies are contributing to the bulk of macroeconomic growth. That, in turn, means global oil demand is expected to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day this year.
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Owner disputes report that Maine oil pipeline has exceeded life span
Bangor Daily News
Environmentalists are pointing to a New Hampshire court document as evidence the Portland-Montreal pipeline has exceeded its life span and can't be trusted to safely transport so-called tar sands oil. Portland Pipe Line Corp. officials counter that groups such as Environment Maine, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and National Wildlife Federation are taking the court filing out of context for use as part of a "scare" campaign.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    EPA's wood smoke plan could make new stoves too costly (Portland Press Herald)
Court nixes 1st Wind-Emera joint venture (Mainebiz)
Big Oil's marketing of tar sands a bait-and-switch operation (Portland Press Herald)
Canada decision may bring tar sands oil closer to Maine (Portland Press Herald)
OSHA notice of proposed rulemaking (U.S. Department of Labor)

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


Tar sands: It's just oil
American Journal
For more than a year now activists with a narrow, off-oil agenda have been working hard to convince area residents that a particular petroleum product from a particular place on the planet presents the gravest possible threat to South Portland and its residents. They call it Tar Sands. The activists who want to ban this product as part of their global campaign against fossil fuels have fabricated their facts, questioned the intentions of a company that has operated with integrity in South Portland for decades, and used wild claims to spread hysteria.
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Moving backwards: Northeasterners turn to burning wood for power
The Daily Caller
Americans living in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. are increasingly turning to a source of heat favored by humans for thousands of years: wood. More and more people are using wood as their main source of heat as opposed to heating oil and kerosene. The Energy Information Administration reports that, "All nine states in the New England and the Middle Atlantic Census divisions saw at least a 50 percent jump from 2005 to 2012 in the number of households that rely on wood as the main heating source."
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Defects found in tracks on propane route
Seacoastonline
Federal Railroad Administration inspections late last year showed numerous defects in a section of Seacoast rail line owned by Pan Am Railways that could be carrying an increased number of propane-transporting cars if Sea-3 of Newington's plans are approved. Copies of inspection reports conducted on stretches of rail from Newfields to Portsmouth and from Portsmouth to Newington on March 1, 2013, show no defects found by a state inspector, though only one unit was inspected per inspection.
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Madison Paper CEO frustrated by delay in natural gas pipeline
Kennebec Journal
Madison Paper Industries still isn't connected to a natural gas pipeline, even after months of delays and a most recent estimate that the hookup would happen by mid-March. A top official at the paper company, which signed a contract with Summit Natural Gas of Maine in June, said the delays have been frustrating and costly. Madison Paper, which employs about 250 people and is the town's largest taxpayer, is a key anchor customer of the $350 million gas project under construction throughout the Kennebec Valley.
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Bowdoin College, other major Maine customers that produce their own energy balk at new Central Maine Power fee
Bangor Daily News
Opponents of a new fee proposed by Central Maine Power to charge customers who generate their own alternative energy say the fee would make those efforts unsustainable. But CMP says the fee is necessary to ensure all customers — residential, business and other entities — pay their fair share of what it costs to deliver electricity to consumers. Because all customers require the infrastructure — wires, transformers and poles — for electricity regardless of whether they generate some, CMP says all should pay a fee for access to the infrastructure.
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Happy birthday, fracking!
Energy Tomorrow
Happy birthday, fracking! What a fantastic, 65-year ride it has been — and here's to another 65 years and more. Advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling launched an oil and natural gas renaissance in this country — bringing dynamic job creation, economic stimulus that radiates well beyond the oil and natural gas industry proper and greater energy security. Thanks to fracking, the United States is an energy superpower that, with the right policies, can harness its vast resources to ensure a significantly better future for its citizens while reducing energy-related tension across the globe.
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Convenience Stores



Maine AG among 28 urging drug chains to stop selling tobacco
Portland Press Herald
Attorneys general from 28 states — including Maine — and U.S. territories have written to the chief executives of major U.S. pharmacy chains urging them to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. Following the decision by CVS Caremark to stop selling tobacco in its stores, the chains Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger are being asked to follow suit.
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BP deal opens door for new US drilling
Politico
BP will be allowed to sign new leases to drill for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico under a deal announced recently with the U.S. government that resolves outstanding issues tied to the British giant's role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
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