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Fed up with EPA, LePage retaliates with threat
Portland Press Herald
A threat by Gov. Paul LePage to give key regulatory powers back to the federal government would likely result in lengthy water permitting delays, an official for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said recently.
LePage, frustrated with "aggressive regulatory overreach" by the EPA over Maine's tribal waters, has threatened to relinquish key powers granted to the state under the federal Clean Water Act and return them to the EPA.
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Sea-3 exemption hearing delayed
The Portsmouth Herald
The state Site Evaluation Committee pushed back a hearing date on a request by Sea-3 Inc. to receive an exemption from a full yearlong review of its planned propane plant expansion.
Alexander Speidel, the committee's presiding officer, issued an order delaying the hearing date from Oct. 14 to Nov. 5-6, according to a copy of the order. The hearing will be held at the Public Utilities Commission Hearing Room in Concord. In the order, he noted Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Roth, who is representing the public's interests in the process, filed a motion to amend the hearing schedule and to allow all the parties involved to file "supplemental pre-filed testimony." There have been no objections to either motion, Speidel stated.
Pipe staged ahead of permits for proposed North Dakota oil pipeline
The Associated Press via PennEnergy
Mountainous piles of steel pipe are being staged across four states in anticipation of building the biggest-capacity pipeline proposed to date to move crude from North Dakota's prolific oil patch.
But stockpiling the pipe is a gamble for the Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion, 1,130-mile project that still needs approval from regulators in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
"What the company does is at their own risk," said Julie Fedorchak, chairwoman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission.
State debates where to put profits from increased timber harvest
Maine Public Broadcasting
A special legislative commission is taking a closer look at how the state can spend $8 million in funding generated from timber harvesting of public lands.
Gov. Paul LePage has tried to use the money to pay for heating assistance for the elderly, but critics say the state constitution restricts the use of those funds.
Rockland option money may go toward review of natural gas plant proposal
Bangor Daily News
The City Council will soon consider how to spend $1,000 monthly payments being paid on an option to buy city land by a developer who has proposed building a $200 million natural-gas-fired power plant.
City Manager James Chaousis is asking councilors to authorize him to use the monthly option payments being made by Rockland Energy Center LLC to pay for legal, technical and fiscal reviews of the project.
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Augusta council to consider November bond request for streets and sidewalks
Proposals to borrow $2.4 million for street and sidewalk reconstruction and other capital improvement projects will go to city councilors for votes.
Councilors also are scheduled to discuss, but not vote on, a controversial proposed ordinance that would designate a large swath of the city's west side as a historic preservation district.
Energy Policy 2016: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
Real Clear Energy
At 44 years old, Rubio is the youngest presidential candidate so far to declare his candidacy for 2016. The U.S. Senator from Florida is now running against his longtime friend and mentor Jeb Bush. In 2010, Rubio asked Bush for permission to run for Senate — refusing to challenge him for the same job if Bush had been interested in the same position. But when it comes to 2016, the two could openly become rivals, dividing Republicans in the Sunshine State.
Goldman: This may push oil to $20
The risk that oil could fall as low as $20 a barrel is rising, with a persistent surplus requiring prices to remain lower for longer to rebalance the market, Goldman Sachs said, cutting its forecasts again.
"While we are increasingly convinced that the market needs to see lower oil prices for longer to achieve a production cut, the source of this production decline and its forcing mechanism is growing more uncertain, raising the possibility that we may ultimately clear at a sharply lower price with cash costs around $20 a barrel Brent prices," Goldman said in a note recently.
Goldman Sachs sees $20 oil: Really?
It makes a great headline: Goldman Sachs, whose "superspike $105 oil" forecast of a decade ago proved prescient, is now suggesting oil could hit $20. An interesting side note: The earlier prediction caused many to accuse the firm of marketing its commodity index fund with its bullish forecast, but obviously such is not the case here.
As is so often true, the reality is much more mundane.
Is OPEC too big to fail? Maybe not
Real Clear Energy
A lot of people, including several OPEC members, thought the oil slump would be easing by now. Instead, as oil prices languish near multi-year lows and experience unprecedented volatility, it's now unclear how long it will take oil prices to recover. Indeed, OPEC now appears poised to wait out the period of low prices even if that takes months or even a couple of years.
South Portland City Council approves 5-cent shopping bag fee, ban on polystyrene packaging
Portland Press Herald
The City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 9, approved a 5-cent charge for disposable shopping bags at retailers and a ban on polystyrene products, mimicking Portland's ordinances that went into effect in April.
Both votes — which are subject to a final vote on Sept. 21 — were unanimous. If the votes stand, South Portland would be the second Maine community after Portland to charge for plastic bags, joining more than 150 nationwide in an effort to encourage the use of environmentally friendly reusable bags.
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