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Blog posts December 2013

Energy Update, Nov. 27 -- Thanksgiving Edition

In the States

IA – Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds launched a new website supporting the current renewable fuel levels required for the nation’s fuel supply. Defending both the use of ethanol and biodiesel, the website, which is, was built without state funds and is intended to show the negative consequences of lowering the renewable fuel standard (RFS) on the economy. The site allows visitors to sign a petition to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule decreasing the RFS by almost 3 billion gallons blended into gasoline in 2014. “The EPA’s ruling to slash the RFS will have a negative ripple effect through the American economy,” Governor Branstad said. “The result of this proposed rule change would mean corn prices would plummet below the cost of production, loss of jobs, and increased dependence on foreign oil.” Iowa is the leading producer of biofuels, with 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing almost 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel, as well as 12 biodiesel facilities. Branstad launches a new website to support ethanol, biodiesel use in fuel supplyThe Des Moines Register 

WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined other State officials in welcoming Carbonyx International USA to West Virginia where the company plans to build a carbon alloy plant in Jackson County in 2014. Carbonyx purchased 56 acres of land to build its plant, which will take two years to construct and bring at least 60 new jobs to the area. The new plant will create a coal-based substitute for coke, which is used as a fuel in the smelting of iron ore, in an environmentally friendly process. Company officials believe their new plant will also open up a market for the State’s metallurgical coal resources, thereby creating additional jobs and bringing economic investment to the State. West Virginia’s Economic Development Authority will provide a 10-year, $15 million low-interest loan package to the company to help it finance its initial operations. "We let coal, for many years, get away from us," Governor Tomblin said. "What I want to see is our natural resources being used here – that's what creates jobs and that's what creates wealth in West Virginia." Officials say plant is ‘manna from heaven’The Charleston Daily Mail

Federal and National

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution asking the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) for flexibility and the recognition of “the primacy” of States in setting and meeting carbon emissions standards for existing power plants. President Barack Obama asked the EPA earlier this year to issue standards for existing power plants within a year, which would leave States until 2016 to inform EPA of their plans to implement the federal requirements. According to the NARUC resolution, “The guidelines should be flexible enough to allow States individually or regionally to take into account, when establishing standards of performance, the different makeup of existing power generation in each State and region.” States press EPA for flexibility in power plant climate rulesThe Hill

 The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy approved 19-10 a bill that would speed up the federal government’s review of pipelines and power lines that cross the American border into Canada and Mexico. Sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), the legislation requires certain projects to be reviewed within four months unless projects are determined to conflict with the Untied States’s national security interests. Supporters of the bill, including Rep. Upton, cite the ongoing debate and delay on the decision to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats are concerned about the bill’s possible ramifications, including possible restrictions on environmental assessments. "These projects, along with the jobs and economic growth they will help generate, may be sitting on the sidelines for years due to the precedent and uncertainty set with the Keystone XL pipeline," Congressman Upton said. Bill would speed up pipeline approvalThe Las Vegas Sun

 President Barack Obama chose Cheryl LaFleur to serve as the acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She replaces former chair Jon Wellinghoff who resigned after serving on FERC for almost five years. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, Ms. LaFleur hails from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a former executive of National Grid USA. “I am honored to lead the commission at a time when the nation is making substantial changes in its energy supply and infrastructure to meet environmental challenges and improve reliability and security,” Ms. LaFleur said. Mass. native to lead federal energy agency The Boston Globe

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