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Voice your opposition to proposed manager overtime rule changes
Petroleum Marketers Association of America
Under the Department of Labor's proposed manager overtime rule changes, petroleum marketing
companies may be forced to pay exempt employees a minimum of $50,440 in 2016 with automatic
threshold increases every year thereafter. The proposal more than doubles the current minimum salary
needed to comply as exempt from overtime requirements.
As a consequence, many retailers may choose not to have exempt employees in their businesses.
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MEMA's new Maine Energy Facts website and Facebook page
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Is the health insurance you provide your employees enough?
MEMA and Colonial Life
Summer is coming to an end, and you are ramping up for the busy fall and winter season ahead of you. Now is a great time to think about the benefits offered to your employees before the mad rush begins.
Employers need affordable solutions to protect their employees from increased financial risk like deductibles and coinsurance to stay competitive, and to remain profitable.
Could there be something missing in your apples-to-apples quote?
You are comfortable with the insurance program you currently have and you are good friends with the agent. But, what if another insurance provider asks for the opportunity to earn your business? Do you oblige, but firmly suggest an apples-to-apples quote?
DEP commissioner quits LePage Cabinet to work for Susan Collins
Bangor Daily News
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho has resigned to take a job with Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, according to Gov. Paul LePage.
Aho served as commissioner since 2011 after previously serving as the agency's deputy commissioner.
Aho will become Collins' state office representative in Augusta, covering Kennebec, Lincoln and Knox counties.
Along Kinder Morgan's proposed route, a fear of disaster — and frustration with debate's tone
New England Public Radio
For the past year and a half, a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline through rural areas of Massachusetts and New Hampshire has stirred up controversy in the region. The Northeast Energy Direct pipeline would start in Pennsylvania and end in Dracut, Massachusetts. The company hoping to build it, Kinder Morgan, will formally submit its plan to federal regulators this fall, and the deadline for public comments on the project is the end of this month.
Missed an issue of MEMA Randoms? Click here to visit MEMA Randoms archive page.
Natural gas plant proposal pulls Rockland into contentious energy debate
The Free Press
In early April, a Boston-based energy company came to Rockland with an ambitious proposal to build a $200 million natural-gas-fired electricity and steam generating plant on city property. For a small town struggling with a tremendous budget shortfall, the potential tax revenue generated by such a massive project made it seem like a godsend. Rockland Energy Center LLC, a newly created subsidiary of Boston-based Energy Management Inc., told city leaders that the 76-megawatt combined heat and power plant would have the capacity to generate and sell electricity to utilities and capture waste heat from the exhaust to sell to local industrial clients.
Rockland urged to do homework on proposed cogeneration plant
Maine's public advocate turned a key question back onto the citizens of Rockland Aug. 19, following a long panel discussion about natural gas cogeneration plants and the energy business in Maine. "What is the problem you are trying to solve with the addition of this plant," asked Tim Schneider, speaking to a roomful of Rockland residents, leaders and business owners who gathered at City Hall.
Summit slows natural gas project in Cumberland, Falmouth, Yarmouth
The company expanding natural gas service to Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth expects to reduce the project by 15 percent this year, a spokeswoman confirmed recently.
"There are some areas where we decided not to move forward with the proposed build, but many areas that were added to the build based on demand," Summit Natural Gas said in a statement provided by Theresa Gilbert of Global Strategy Group.
Energy director: Low oil prices are an opportunity
The cost of home heating oil in Maine is unusually low right now, thanks to falling crude oil prices, and Patrick Woodcock, director of the Governor's Energy Office, sees it as an opportunity.
"Heating oil prices this low are freeing up dollars that Maine households can use to invest in energy efficiency and heating system upgrades," he said in a press release. "When prices rise again, those investments will pay dividends. Now is the time to plan ahead."
The natural gas industry has been destroyed by the price drop
Chesapeake Energy, the second largest natural gas producer in the U.S., after Exxon, is the biggest exclamation mark in a special Fed-designed phenomenon: For years, QE-besotted, ZIRP-blinded, yield-hungry investors kept funding an industry that dished out nothing but hype, false hopes and losses.
Two natural gas producers have already thrown in the towel: Quicksilver Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, listing $1.21 billion in assets and $2.35 billion in debts. Much larger Samson Resources has scheduled its date with bankruptcy court for Sept. 15.
The Saudis gambled and Texas won
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
In November 2014, the leaders of Saudi Arabia made one of the biggest bets in history. Their strategy was flawed, and they've already lost.
In an OPEC meeting that month, Saudi Arabia announced it would maintain high oil-production levels despite falling prices. The Saudis were betting that by keeping prices low they could protect their market share and kill America's energy renaissance — a rebirth driven largely by Texas, which produces 37 percent of America's oil and 28 percent of its marketed natural gas.
How long is the oil market cycle?
The Financial Times
Oil is now clearly a cyclical commodity that is in a period of over-supply. According to recent commentaries from the International Energy Agency, the excess of production over consumption was as much as 3m barrels a day in the second quarter of this year, which is why prices have fallen. The question for producers, consumers and investors is: how long will it be before the cycle turns back up?
EMV just a first step in more secure payment
Chip cards alone are just one option for EMV, as the technology is a foundation for other, more secure payment solutions beyond the chip, writes Stratos Card CEO Thiago Olson on PaymentsSource.com.
For example, the development of EMV technology created the possibility for contactless NFC devices, such as Apple Pay, that utilize tokenization and transmit a "token" as a secure substitute for a user's actual account number.
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