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U.S. DOT plans rule to hike insurance requirements for cargo tank vehicles
MEMA
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering a future rulemaking that would increase financial responsibility requirements for all motor carriers, including those hauling petroleum products in cargo tank vehicles. The FMCSA disclosed the possible FR increase in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The potential rulemaking is important to NEFI members because it could result in thousands of dollars in new compliance costs in the form of more expensive insurance premiums.
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Current MTEC students featured in WMTW 8 commercial
MEMA
Watch it now!
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Insurance Topics



Workers Compensation Self-Insured Trust to return $150,000 to its members
MEMA
Once again the Trust will be releasing just before Christmas a total of $150,000 to its members. Two years ago $750,000 was released. Historically since 1994 the trust has returned approximately $4.5 million dollars in surplus to its participants! This remarkable record is a testimony to the commitment made by participating companies to work hard at increasing workplace safety and reducing the incidence and severity of workplace injuries by implementing safety programs and other safety measures which have directly resulted in an improved loss record.
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MEMA's Health Trust enters 3rd year without a rate increase — no plan changes
MEMA
The MEMA Health Trust will be renewing on 1/1/15. In the past two years there has been a rate decrease and a rate hold. Again for 1/1/15 there is yet another rate hold unheard of outside the trust. Are you struggling with age-banded rates? Do yourself a favor and look at the Trust's plan designs and rates where there is no age banding. There are four PPO Plans through Anthem as well as a two dental options (rate reduction in 2015), vision and life. MEMA handles all the billing for you, helps solve Claims issues and helps you with compliance. Give us a census, and we will give you a quote. Call and ask for Robin at 207-729-5298 for more info.
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Industry Headlines



Summit Natural Gas falls behind on its goals
Portland Press Herald
Peggy Pisini could have been the ideal natural gas customer. After Pisini and her husband, Jim, paid oil bills of up to $700 every month or two last winter to heat their home in Cumberland Foreside, Pisini was excited to learn that Summit Natural Gas of Maine would soon bring the efficient fuel source to her doorstep. But delays in Summit's construction timetable, coupled with the sudden collapse of a home heating contractor that Summit promoted and Pisini nearly employed — Dave Ireland Builders — have shaken her confidence in the utility's plans.
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US natural gas production to plateau by 2020?
PennEnergy
It has become somewhat of a standard understanding that the U.S. natural gas production boom will continue its growth for decades, but science journal Nature revealed researchers from the University of Texas at Austin disagree. While the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates natural gas output will continue to rise through 2040, UT Austin researchers argue natural gas production will plateau by 2020.
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Report: Billions in clean energy investments expected in Maine
Maine Public Broadcasting
Maine is one of eight states leading the way in developing clean energy economies. In its new report, Clean Economy Rising, The Pew Charitiable Trusts finds that private interests invested $900 million in the state's renewable energy sector between 2009 and 2013. That number is projected to rise to nearly $2 billion by 2023.
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Maine voices: Energy coming out of the woodwork
Portland Press Herald
Yet few Mainers appreciate this clean, abundant source of renewable energy. One of our most important state industries just got a boost from the Environmental Protection Agency. Biomass — or, more simply, wood — has been heating Maine homes for generations. But few Mainers appreciate that woody material — mostly chips from harvesting residue — actually generates more than 20 percent of Maine's total electricity and is second only to hydropower as the largest source of our renewable energy.
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Why did NORAD start tracking Santa?
Mental Floss
On Dec. 24, 1955, the red telephone at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado began ringing. The red phone meant it was either the Pentagon or CONAD commander in chief General Earle Partridge on the other end, and their reason for calling would probably not be pleasant. U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, director of operations at the center, rushed over to the phone and grabbed it.
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Plunging gas and heating oil prices have changed this winter's home heating calculation
Bangor Daily News
In June, the data-rich Energy Information Administration projected regular-grade gasoline prices would be at $3.48 per gallon in December. With gas prices now dropping to a national average of $2.80, you probably don't mind that the administration's projection was way off. The drop to a five-year low has been a surprise, driven by major oil producing countries giving U.S. oil producers, frackers and others interested in a higher oil price a little indigestion over the Thanksgiving holiday. North America's producing more oil than ever — at a higher cost to extract — and Saudi Arabia led a decision by OPEC to keep oil flowing to compete.
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M.D. Harmon: Beware the hidden costs of alternative energy sources
Portland Press Herald
When it comes to electricity, ordinary Mainers probably care most that it be provided in the most efficient manner at the lowest possible cost, understanding that the monthly bill is only one cost among many. But we shouldn't fool ourselves, or allow others to fool us, that some methods of power generation come without environmental costs, including those described as "friendly to the environment," whose problems are often downplayed or even ignored by their advocates.
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Legislative Updates



Summit Natural Gas president stepping down
Portland Press Herald
The president of Summit Natural Gas of Maine recently announced that he plans to step down on Jan. 1. Although Mike Minkos said he is leaving of his own volition, his departure comes during a stormy period for the utility. Dozens of prospective Summit customers lost thousands of dollars in deposits for heating work that was never completed after Dave Ireland Builders abruptly closed shop in November. Summit is repaying those costs and is honoring Ireland's old contracts in an attempt to repair customer relations.
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Winslow councilor hopes to convince Summit on expansion
Morning Sentinel
When Summit Natural Gas breaks ground for trunk lines next year, at least one town official hopes the company can be convinced to expand to some key industrial and business sections, some of which were on the company's original plan. Town Councilor Ken Fletcher, the former director of the Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security, said once the gas company's plans are confirmed, he wants to discuss expansion to include the sparsely populated Winslow Industrial Park as well as a portion of Benton Avenue that includes Johnny's Selected Seeds and Orion Ropeworks.
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Raise gas tax or face bad roads, former transportation chief tells Maine audience
Portland Press Herald
The condition of U.S. roads and bridges will continue to be poorer than in other countries if more funding isn't devoted to infrastructure projects, a former U.S. secretary of transportation told an industry gathering recently. Ray LaHood, a keynote speaker at the 64th annual Maine Transportation Conference, told industry members to pressure their congressional leaders to pass a longer-term transportation bill and shore up the struggling Highway Trust Fund by increasing federal fuel taxes.
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Convenience Store News



Petroleum: Consider the alternatives
CSP.net
Even after an expected 24 percent decline in gasoline demand from 2012 to 2040, gasoline-powered vehicles would still make up nearly 78 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But that doesn't mean retailers should not consider diversifying their fuel offer today.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Plunge in oil prices has Jekyll-and-Hyde effects (Portland Press Herald)
Contractor responds to incomplete work claims (NECN)
Often idle, a Rumford power plant offers lessons (Portland Press Herald)
C-store retailers lose menu labeling battle (Convenience Store News)

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 Intern, 469.420.2612  
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