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NH Biomass plants may have to shut down after governor's veto

Six New Hampshire biomass plants might be in jeopardy of closing after a bill was recently vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu. The governor said the bill could have cost Granite Staters millions, but plant managers and employees said the plants are in jeopardy if lawmakers don't act. The governor issued the veto in June, saying the veto would not take anything away from the biomass industry. He said the bill would have given the industry an additional $30 million in subsidies, and vetoing it saved ratepayers about $25 million. Plant managers said the veto has already had an impact.

Scott Pruitt's Parting Shot At U.S. Ethanol Producers

EPA Administrator and refining industry ally Scott Pruitt resigned earlier this month after losing the support of the White House. Shortly before his departure, the EPA implemented substantial reductions to biofuel blending volumes under the national blending mandate. Recently-released EPA documents show that the reductions were implemented in a way that will keep ethanol blending at roughly 10 vol% of gasoline consumption. The EPA documents also show that the reduction decision occurred shortly before Mr. Pruitt's departure.

Researchers Find Promising Results In Frac Sand Mine Reclamation Test Plot

A five-year study in Chippewa County has transformed a reclaimed frac sand mine into a successful wild prairie. Researchers are hopeful that lessons learned can be used at other mining operations around the state beginning to fill in their pits. In a rare collaboration, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls worked with industrial sand mining firm Superior Silica Sands and Chippewa County’s Department of Land Conservation and Forest Management to learn how sand mining impacts soil that is stripped away, stored and replaced after mining operations wrap up.

California awards $69.9 million for dairy digester projects

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded $69.9 million in grant funding to 40 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms. Financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals.

Battle Between Ethanol And Refiners Reaches Stalemate

The current zero-sum battle between corn states and the biofuels industry on the one hand, and oil refiners on the other, is not new, but it exploded into a fierce fight over the past year as the Environmental Protection Agency  cracked open the door to a weakening of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS dictates how much ethanol refiners need to procure. The exit of Scott Pruitt from the EPA could signal an end to open war between the ethanol and refining industries, returning it to a more familiar low-grade tug-of-war over annual blending requirements.

How solar energy helps Mennonites with their mission of global relief

The Gift & Thrift in Harrisonburg is one of more than one hundred thrift shops run by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Canada and the United States. Since 1972 they have raised more than $200 million to support domestic and international aid programs by the MCC. In addition to the thrift shop, the Harrisonburg complex of buildings hosts an artisan gift shop, a bookstore, a café, and a community center.To bring solar to the Gift & Thrift, the store and the MCC teamed up with local solar installer Secure Futures to create the “Thrifty Solar Barn Raising” team.

Solar Plan Collides With Farm Tradition in Pacific Northwest

When a company from Seattle came calling, wanting to lease some land on Jeff and Jackie Brunson’s 1,000-acre hay and oat farm for a solar energy project, they jumped at the idea, and the prospect of receiving regular rent checks. They did not anticipate the blowback — snarky texts, phone calls from neighbors, and county meetings where support for solar was scant.Critics said the project would remove too much land from agricultural production in central Washington.

Virginia regulators accuse Mountain Valley Pipeline of erosion violations

Virginia regulators have accused the builder of the Mountain Valley Pipeline of environmental violations punishable by fines and repair mandates, saying the company’s failure to install and maintain erosion-control devices has fouled 8,800 feet of streams in six locations.The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality gave Robert Cooper, project manager for EQT Corp. in Pittsburgh, a nine-page notice of violations on Monday.

North Dakota sues Dakota Access over farmland ownership

North Dakota's attorney general is suing the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline over agricultural land the company owns in violation of a state law banning large corporations from owning farmland. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a civil complaint in state district court against Dakota Access LLC, a company formed by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners to build the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline began operating a year ago.

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