This act creates tax incentives to encourage the collection and use of natural gas that would otherwise be flared. The act: Expands a sales tax exemption to include tangible personal property used to construct or expand gas collection systems; creates a gross production tax exemption for certain gas collected and used at the well site; and creates an oil extraction tax exemption for the liquids produced in association with a collection system.

The U.S. in 2015 will chair the eight-nation Arctic Council. The WESTRENDS Board, a program of CSG West that looks at trends affecting the region, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn what the Arctic means for the West and about state and local perspectives in Arctic policy decision-making.

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During the last year, residents of neighborhoods in Chicago and Detroit have had to deal with growing piles of petroleum coke, or petcoke. These piles were often left uncovered, allowing winds to disperse black dust into surrounding communities and nearby waterways.
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Minnesota’s legislative year began by tackling a problem few could have predicted only months earlier — a spike in the cost of propane and its impact on people (mostly in rural areas) who use it to heat their homes. Across the Midwest, the propane shortage has led to a spate of state legislation, gubernatorial-declared energy emergencies and executive orders.

Yesterday, the North Dakota Petroleum Council introduced a new proposal to the North Dakota Industrial Council committing the industry to capture 85 percent of the natural gas flared at wellheads within two years. Within six years, the Association committed to capturing 90 percent and upwards of 95 percent should regulatory agencies, the Legislature, and state and tribal stakeholders come on board.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced yesterday that propane inventories in the Midwest dropped more than 2 million barrels in November 2013 - the largest such drop for the feedstock in a single month since 1993. The agency noted that continued frigid temperatures, low inventories going into winter, and a late harvest in the Midwest have led to sharp increases in spot market prices.

CSG Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Brydon Ross outlines the top five issues for 2014, including upcoming Clean Air state implementation plans, EPA cooling water intake regulations, increased scrutiny on crude oil transportation safety, potential rate and policy disputes involving net metering, and lingering impacts that drought may pose for states and water infrastructure.  

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges the executive branch and Congress to seriously review the threat posed to American energy security from policies that do not enable the productive use of indigenous energy resources which continue reliance on imported fuels.

The Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) announced the preliminary findings of a major study and analysis that traced the chemical agents used in the practice of hydraulic fracturing of oil and and natural gas wells and found no evidence that the wells it monitored had contaminated drinking water supplies in the Marcellus Shale region. The announcement was hailed by representatives from the oil and gas industry and met with some words of caution by academic researchers and environmental groups who noted that its findings are not yet finalized.

Maine's U.S. Representatives, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, have asked for a federal investigation on the state's rail infrastructure transporting oil and gas in the aftermath of the tragic derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec where 60 people are presumed dead or missing. The accident occurred only 22 miles from Maine's border and the cargo of 50,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil was bound for refineries in New Brunswick. The request comes after Governor Paul LePage issued an executive order directing the state DOT to review the sufficiency of its existing freight rail regulations.