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New rule imposes out-of-state order for unpaid civil penalties
The Petroleum Marketers Association of America
The U.S. DOT has issued a final rule amending requirements for payment of civil penalties for violations
of federal hazardous material regulations (HMR) and the federal motor carrier safety regulations
(FMCSR). Specifically, the final rule prohibits a person who fails to pay a civil penalty, or fails to abide by
a payment agreement, from transporting HAZMAT materials until payment is made.
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Conservation Law Foundation's old support for gas gets new scrutiny
Boston Business Journal
For months, the Conservation Law Foundation has been criticizing a regional process that would bring more shale gas into New England.
Now, it's time for big industrial power users to strike back.
The law firm of Preti Flaherty, representing the Industrial Energy Consumer Group and others, filed documents recently with the Maine Public Utilities Commission that portray CLF's current stance as hypocritical given its strong public support for gas-fired plants 13 years ago. CLF, the petition states, now seeks to starve the gas-fired power plants that it demanded to be built.
GUEST COLUMN: 'Lowering energy costs is a win for all Mainers'
Gov. Paul LePage via St. John Valley Times
During the bitter cold winter season, New England governors spoke with a sense of urgency about lowering energy costs. Now, just two months away from an election, that urgency is gone.
LePage says cost of energy keeps wages low, drives business from Maine
The Bangor Daily News
A week after L.L. Bean announced it will close its Bangor call center and on the same day that Verizon Wireless said it would add 90 customer service employees to its local facility, Gov. Paul LePage made a recent visit to a third call center, where he said wages might be higher if energy costs were lower.
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer short of $100 million campaign goal
Portland Press Herald
When he vowed to spend as much as $50 million of his own money, and raise the same from like-minded donors, billionaire Tom Steyer electrified the political world with his promise to make climate change an issue in this year's midterm elections.
Those elections are now two months away, and the former hedge fund manager is running out of time.
New fight erupts over New England natural gas plan
The Associated Press via Boston Herald
A new fight has emerged over efforts to shift New England from oil and coal to lower cost natural gas.
Plans by New England's governors and energy officials to expand natural gas in the six states have drawn fights in the past year among energy companies, environmentalists and local and state officials. Now, a lawyer who represents a pipeline company, manufacturers and two organized labor groups is accusing environmental advocates of abandoning their early support for cleaner energy and trying to block pipeline projects.
Advocates press Sen. Collins to support CO2 emissions limits
Maine Public Broadcasting News
Maine environmentalists and some Maine businesses are urging Republican Sen. Susan Collins to support a proposed federal rule that would limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan in June and has faced opposition from many congressional Republicans, who say it will cuts jobs and increase energy costs. Collins has not yet taken a position.
Bangor school district faces $440,000 in unanticipated costs
The Bangor School Department will likely have to foot addition, previously unexpected, bills of $440,000 due to higher than budgeted expenses, Superintendent Betsy Webb said.
While the Bangor School Department projected a 15 percent rise in the cost of natural gas in its budget for the current year, the fuel's price jumped 80 percent. The department's fresh estimates suggest that the natural gas bill would swell to $833,000 this year, nearly $375,000 more than its previous projection.
Hallowell's water rates to rise 20 percent
Water rates in the city will rise to cover costs of natural gas expansion after Maine utility regulators recently accepted a settlement offer that ended a citizen challenge initiated earlier this year. Little changed financially under the settlement: Rates are set to rise by nearly 20 percent — essentially the same amount the Hallowell Water District said it needed before the ratepayer challenge.
Oil, propane expected to remain stalwarts as Mainers try new energy sources
When natural gas installations went on a tear last year, potential industrial and residential users looked forward to saving lots of money on what was perceived to be a less expensive, cleaner fuel to replace oil or propane. But as the winter season peaked, regional pipeline constraints caused natural gas scarcities, which led to price hikes.
Maine environmental agency OKs permit for state's largest wind farm in Bingham
The Bangor Daily News
A subsidiary of Boston-based First Wind gained final approval Sept. 8 to build the largest wind farm yet approved by state regulators.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was expected to grant the permit for the company's proposed wind farm in Bingham after it issued a draft order approving the 62-turbine, 186-megawatt project on Aug. 27.
Choking on oversupply, oil could fall another 10 percent
Even with geopolitical tensions running high, the oil market has become more bearishly positioned than it's been for several years, and prices could fall another 10 percent or more.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell through $100 for the first time in 16 months recently, as Chinese import growth fell unexpectedly for a second month. Besides softer demand from China, the developed world is using less oil in general as a supply glut grows in the Atlantic basin.
Commentary: E-cigarettes require far tighter oversight and regulation
Portland Press Herald
E-cigarettes pose a public policy conundrum. They are a gateway drug — but it's not, or hasn't been, entirely clear in which direction most traffic through that gateway flows. For some existing smokers, particularly those for whom other efforts to quit have failed, electronic cigarettes offer the advantage of a nicotine delivery device without risking the health consequences of smoking tobacco. Meantime, for those not yet hooked, e-cigarettes present the risk of an alluring on-ramp to the real thing.
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