Vermont Business Roundtable Names New Board

first_imgMarc vanderHeyden, PresidentSt. Michael’s CollegeColchester Continuing on the Board are: Newly elected Board Officers, serving two-year terms beginning December2006, include: Vice-Chair       William P. Stritzler, ManagingDirectorSmugglers’ NotchResortJeffersonville SOUTH BURLINGTON—The VermontBusiness Roundtable (Roundtable) on Monday announced the names of its new BoardDirectors and Officers.  “Vermontfaces pressing challenges in the coming years, and collaboration between publicand private sectors is the fastest and most efficient way to addressthem,” said Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss. “We’refortunate to have, once again, Board members and leaders with extensiveexperience in shaping public policy, spurring workforce growth, anddemonstrating corporate responsibility.” Douglas H. Griswold, PresidentS.T. Griswold & Co., Inc.Williston                                                             ### John H. Marshall, Managing Partner, Downs Rachlin Martin (St.Johnsbury), was re-elected as Director. The three new Directors, named forthree-year terms beginning December 2006, are: Chair                Timothy R. Volk, PresidentKelliher Samets VolkBurlington Treasurer          Douglas J. Wacek, Presidentand CEOUnion Mutual of VermontCompaniesMontpelier Ventriss believes the Roundtable’s new Board directors andofficers will distinguish themselves in addressing Vermont’s energy, education and healthcare issues. “This team represents a variety of counties, industries andinterests, but shares a passion for effecting change. These leaders wereelected, and will get things done, because they’re deeply committed toimproving the quality of life in Vermont.” Carolyn Edwards, President & CEOCompetitive ComputingColchester Staige Davis, PresidentLang, Lion & DavisSouth Burlington Pennie Beach, PresidentBasin Harbor ClubVergennes Secretary          James L. Daily, PresidentPorter Medical Center,Inc.Middlebury Aboutthe VermontBusiness Roundtable Steven P. Voigt, President & CEOKing Arthur Flour Company, Inc.Norwich Thomas W. Huebner, PresidentRutland Regional Medical CenterRutland Mark R. Neagley, PresidentNeagley & Chase Construction Co.South Burlington Vermont Business Roundtable Names New BoardNew members will address key state energyand education issues Ellen Mercer Fallon, PartnerLangrock Sperry & Wool, LLPMiddlebury Christopher L. Dutton,  President& CEOGreen Mountain Power CorporationColchester TheRoundtable is composed of 115 CEOs of Vermont’s top private and nonprofitemployers dedicated to making Vermont the best place in America to do business,be educated, and live life. Member businesses employ over 49,000 employees invirtually every county across Vermont. For more information contact:Christian FalkDirector of CommunicationsVermontBusiness Roundtable802-865-0410 x14www.vtroundtable.org(link is external)”Making Vermont the Best Place to Do Business, Be Educatedand Live Life.” st1\:*{behavior:url(#default#ieooui) }last_img read more

New Manufacturing Facility ON-LINE

first_imgIn July ’05, VEMAS Corp purchased the former Williams Machine complex and started a comprehensive over-haul/upgrade of the facility to bring it standards required of a manufacturing facility.In June ’07 the company shut down Middlebury operations and relocated to its’ new home in Poultney, VT.In July ’07, Gov Douglass and many townspeople enjoyed an Open House gala with many tours and plenty of great food.VEMAS(Vermont Electro-Mechanical Assembly Services) provides SMT and TH assembly, prototyping, testing service along with systems level assembly, cable assembly & conformal coating processes.last_img read more

Fees blamed for lower customer commitment to retail banks

first_imgDriven by declines in both satisfaction and brand image, customer commitment to retail banks has decreased in 2009, according to the JD Power and Associates 2009 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study(SM) released today. This marks a steady decline in customer commitment since 2007. Now in its fourth year, the study finds that only 35 percent of customers say they are highly committed to their retail bank in 2009, compared with 37 percent in 2008 and 41 percent in 2007. On average, highly committed customers use more products, give more referrals and are much less likely to switch to another bank, compared with customers who have lower commitment levels.”Customers reporting the lowest levels of commitment in 2009 happen to be those with deposit balances that are 15 percent higher than average,” said Michael Beird, director of the banking practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “With this in mind, it is crucial that banks take steps to address this steady decline in customer commitment, as moving just 5 percent of customers from low and moderate levels of commitment to high commitment can mean additional deposit growth of more than 2 percentage points higher than average. This is critical in an environment where 4 to 5 percent is the norm.”The study finds an increase in problems experienced by customers in 2009, as 15 percent of customers reported a problem in the past 12 months — up from 12 percent in 2007. Among customers experiencing a problem, the most frequently reported issue deals with fees, with 46 percent of customers reporting a problem in 2009. This also marks an increase from 44 percent of customers reporting issues with fees in 2008.As such, customers report lower satisfaction levels in the area of fees in 2009 — dropping 19 points compared with 2008. Fees are also the greatest driver in customer attrition, with one in three customers who switched banks during the past 12 months doing so because of higher fees. In particular, overdraft fees increased more than other types of fees, rising on average from $30 in 2008 to $35 in 2009.”Despite the increase in problem incidence, banks are making strides in resolving problems that do occur, as customer satisfaction with problem resolution has improved — up 30 points from 2008 to 527 in 2009,” said Beird. “In particular, banks are taking steps to resolve more issues at the initial point of customer contact and have reduced the number of times the customer must contact the bank for answers. Additionally, customers report higher satisfaction with the number of conveniently located branches and online transactions.”The study also finds that customer perceptions of bank brand image have declined for a third consecutive year. Low customer ratings in the areas of overall reputation, customer focus and personal service primarily drive the decrease in brand image among banks.”These findings not only reflect recent negative media coverage about the banking industry, but also the reality of staff cuts, higher service charges and the effects of bank mergers on customer perceptions and experiences,” said Beird. “The challenge that banks face is most clearly underscored by findings from the recently released 2009 Purchase Funnel Special Report, which shows that 30 percent of customers cite questionable ethics, financial instability or poor reputation as key reasons for specifically avoiding a particular institution when shopping for a new bank.”The 2009 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study also finds that despite the challenging financial market, some banks have achieved high commitment levels from more than 50 percent of their customers, which is well above the industry average of 35 percent. In addition, these banks exceed the industry average for key satisfaction measures, including convenience, fees and transactions. Customers of these banks also rate them highly regarding brand image, particularly for customer focus, personal service and financial stability.”Banks with high brand image scores typically engage in practices that focus on strong communication with customers, such as welcoming them to the branch office or following up on problems,” said Beird. “By focusing on aspects most critical to the banking experience, banks can win the favor of their customers, which can lead to considerable financial rewards.”The study analyzes customer satisfaction with the retail banking experience based on six factors: transactions; account statements; account initiation/product offerings; convenience; fees; and problem resolution. Study results by region are:Mid-Atlantic Region: TD Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 774, performing particularly well in convenience. Community Bank (766) and Susquehanna Bank (761) follow in the regional rankings.Midwest Region: With scores of 754, Commerce Bancshares, Inc., and Harris National rank highest in a tie in the region. Chase follows with a score of 748.Mountain Region: Wells Fargo ranks highest in the region with a score of 727, performing well in account initiation/product offerings, account statements, convenience, fees and transactions.New England Region: People’s United Bank ranks highest with a score of 751, performing particularly well in convenience, account initiation/product offerings, account statements and transactions. TD Bank (746) and Wachovia (726) follow in the rankings.Southeast Region: With a score of 815, Arvest Bank ranks highest in the region and performs well in convenience and account initiation/product offerings. First Tennessee Bank (788) and First-Citizens (Bancshares) (771) follow in the regional rankings.Southwest Region: Wachovia ranks highest in the region with a score of 792, performing well in account initiation/product offerings, fees, account statements and transactions. Zions First National Bank follows with a score of 760, and Capital One ranks third with 756.West Region: Bank of the West ranks highest with a score of 749 and performs well in account statements and transactions. Wells Fargo (743) and WaMu (730) follow in the regional rankings.The 2009 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 28,570 households regarding their experiences with their primary banking provider. The study was fielded in January 2009.Customer Satisfaction Index RankingsMid-Atlantic Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- TD Bank 774 5 Community Bank 766 5 Susquehanna Bank 761 4 Citizens Bank 755 4 Northwest Savings Bank 755 4 Chevy Chase Bank 747 4 PNC Bank 744 4 SunTrust Bank 743 4 WaMu 740 4 First Niagara Bank 739 4 National City Bank 738 4 HSBC Bank 731 3 Mid-Atlantic Region Average 728 3 First NB of Pennsylvania 726 3 Sovereign Bank 726 3 Wachovia 725 3 Bank of America 723 3 Chase 723 3 M&T Bank 720 3 First Commonwealth Bank 706 2 Citibank 699 2 KeyBank 698 2 Capital One 689 2 Astoria FS&LA 686 2 Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: BB&T, Fulton Bank, Harleysville National B&T, Hudson City Savings Bank, Huntington National Bank, National Penn Bank, NBT Bank, New York Community Bank, Provident Bank of Maryland, S&T Bank, and Valley National Bank.Included in the Mid-Atlantic region are: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Deleware and Washington D.C.Midwest Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- Commerce Bancshares 754 5 Harris National 754 5 Chase 748 4 M&I Bank 746 4 Fifth Third Bank 745 4 Citizens Bank (MI) 743 4 FirstMerit Bank 743 4 Old National Bank 742 4 Comerica Bank 734 3 KeyBank 733 3 Midwest Region Average 733 3 Huntington National Bank 732 3 National City Bank 728 3 Wells Fargo 728 3 Associated Bank 726 3 Bank of America 723 3 Regions Bank 717 2 Charter One Bank 715 2 U.S. Bank 710 2 First Midwest Bank 707 2 TCF National Bank 706 2 Citibank 698 2Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: 1st Source Bank, AMCORE Bank, AnchorBank, Bank Midwest, Bank Mutual, Bremer Bank, Chemical Bank, First Bank (MO), Flagstar Bank, Independent Bank, PNC Bank and UMB Bank.Included in the Midwest region are: Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa.Mountain Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- Wells Fargo 727 5 Mountain Region Average 722 3 U.S. Bank 711 2 Bank of the West 699 2 Chase 695 2 Bank of America 689 2Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: Commerce Bancshares, First Interstate Bank and KeyBank.Included in the Mountain region are: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.New England Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- People’s United Bank 751 5 TD Bank 746 5 Wachovia 726 3 Citizens Bank 724 3 New England Region Average 721 3 Sovereign Bank 718 3 Webster Bank 711 3 Bank of America 707 2 Citibank 694 2Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: Eastern Bank, KeyBank, NewAlliance Bank and Rockland Trust Co.Included in the New England region are: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.Southeast Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- Arvest Bank 815 5 First Tennessee Bank 788 4 First-Citizens (Bancshares) 771 4 BancorpSouth Bank 767 4 BankAtlantic 761 4 BB&T 756 3 WaMu 755 3 Colonial Bank 753 3 Wachovia 752 3 Regions Bank 746 3 SunTrust Bank 746 3 Southeast Region Average 746 3 PNC Bank 738 3 Fifth Third Bank 735 3 Bank of America 734 3 Capital One 732 3 National City Bank 729 3 RBC Bank 727 3 Chase 726 3 U.S. Bank 725 3 Citibank 714 2 BBVA Compass Bank 712 2 Chevy Chase Bank 680 2Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: Capital City Bank, Carolina First Bank, Carter Bank and Trust, Community Trust Bank, First Citizens Bank & Trust (Bancorp), Hancock Bank, Riverside NB ofFlorida, Trustmark National Bank, United Bank, United Community Bank and Whitney National Bank.Included in the Southeast region are: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee,Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia.Southwest Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- Wachovia 792 5 Zions First National Bank 760 4 Capital One 756 4 Chase 745 3 Southwest Region Average 742 3 Woodforest National Bank 741 3 Bank of America 736 3 Wells Fargo 735 3 Citibank 734 3 WaMu 727 3 U.S. Bank 713 2 BBVA Compass Bank 703 2 Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: Amegy Bank, Arvest Bank, Bank of Oklahoma, Bank of Texas, Bank of the West, Comerica Bank, First National Bank, Frost National Bank, Guaranty Bank (TX), International Bank of Commerce, MidFirst Bank, Nevada State Bank, Prosperity Bank and Regions Bank.Included in the Southwest region are: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.West Region(Based on a 1,000-point scale) Bank Index J.D. Power.com Score Power Circle Ratings For Consumers —- —— ————- Bank of the West 749 5 Wells Fargo 743 4 WaMu 730 3 West Region Average 729 3 Wachovia 728 3 U.S. Bank 724 3 Union Bank of California 723 3 KeyBank 718 2 Citibank 712 2 Bank of America 706 2Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are: Downey Savings, Sterling Savings Bank and Umpqua Bank.Included in the West region are: California, Oregon and Washington.About J.D. Power and AssociatesHeadquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.About The McGraw-Hill CompaniesFounded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com(link is external). Media Relations Contacts: Jeff Perlman; Brandware Public Relations; Agoura Hills, Calif.; (310) 589-7749; jperlman@brandwaregroup.com(link sends e-mail) John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 312-4119; media.relations@jdpa.comNo(link sends e-mail) advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate(link is external)Source: JD Power. PRnewswire. May 19, 2009last_img read more

Copley Hospital first hospital in Vermont to reach EHR milestone

first_imgCopley Health Systems recently completed attestation to the federal government that Copley Hospital has met ‘meaningful use’ criteria for the Phase One implementation and use of its electronic health record (EHR) and is eligible for Medicare EHR incentive payments. Copley completed attestation on June 27, 2011; the first hospital in Vermont to do so.  The attestation demonstrates to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that Copley Hospital has met requirements for EHR Medicare incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. ‘Our focus has been to improve the quality of patient care and patient safety in addition to improving the exchange of information among healthcare providers and patients through our EHR,’ said Mel Patashnick, President of Copley Health Systems. ‘Our being at the forefront of implementing this vital technology is indicative of our commitment to providing outstanding patient care.’  Copley is using CPSI as its EHR platform. A number of employees, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinical staff, were involved with process preparation, the selection and installation of the appropriate software and training for implementation to meet ‘meaningful use’ guidelines.  Copley has also worked closely with Vermont Information Technology Leaders to build a bi-directional health record interface, enabling transmissions to and from the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE).  Copley’s EHR Phase One implementation was funded in part by a grant from the Lucy D. Nisbet Charitable Fund. Copley Hospital is the non-profit community hospital serving the greater Lamoille Valley area of north-central Vermont. This rural hospital is a vital resource for the wellness and health of the community in addition to being one of the largest employers in the areas. Copley provides 24/7 emergency services, women’s and children’s health services, access to more than 50 specialists including a full-time cardiologist, urologist and a state-of-the-art orthopedics program on its campus in Morrisville, Vermont. Copley provided more than $800,000 in direct charitable care last year and has provided $5.5 million in community benefits for the surrounding area.last_img read more

Danville Village highway project to re-start on Wednesday

first_imgThe Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) announced today that construction on the Danville Village reconstruction project will resume on Wednesday, July 27th.  ‘We are getting back to work on our Danville project this week,’ said Richard Tetreault, VTrans Director of Program Development. The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the Agency issued a stop work order following concerns over traffic management challenges for the project. Beginning Wednesday, project work will begin along US Route 2 east of the village green. Limited work is also expected to take place on and around the village green.  The traveling public can expect up to 10-minute delays through the project from the hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Two lanes of traffic will be open during peak times of the early morning (7:00 ~ 9:00) and late afternoon (4:00 ~ 6:00). Traffic will be managed by flaggers at each end of the work zone and where needed at driveways and side roads. According to Tetreault, VTrans had issued the stop work order following the discovery of several unanticipated factors and traffic challenges. During the past two weeks the VTrans project team has met daily with the contractors to re-assess and redevelop a project plan and schedule, including an improved traffic management plan. VTrans has also held meetings with area residents and businesses to better understand public concerns. The contractor, Pike Industries, Inc. is being advised of the changes and will work to update their schedule of operations. Moving forward, VTrans will also step-up its efforts to communicate with the public on project updates and activities, including hosting periodic meetings with the area residents. The meetings will include the contractor and the VTrans inspection team. ‘We want to make sure folks understand what the contractor’s schedule of operations will be and also provide a forum for the public to ask questions and become informed,’ Director Tetreault explained.last_img read more

Vermont Department of Labor offers additional resources for disaster cleanup

first_imgThe Vermont Department of Labor can help employers and contractors who are seeking to hire workers with the clean-up, repair or demolition work.  The DOL Career Resource Centers ‘ located in 12 regions across the state ‘ have professional staff members who can help employers by using our Vermont Job-Link System to identify ‘ready and available’ workers to match to the job openings.  As an example, last week a company from Johnson, Vermont working on the clean-up at the Waterbury office complex, asked DOL to refer 100 workers to them, and by the end of that same day 150 people were contacted and referred to the employer. Since last Friday, the Department has taken in over 15 job orders for more than 500 workers, and our regional offices are helping employers find laborers for these jobs.  If you are an employer ‘ or a job seeker ‘ please contact the Vermont Department of Labor to assist you in finding workers or for help in finding a job.  For a listing of VDOL’s regional offices, visit our website at www.labor.vermont.gov(link is external) under Disaster Unemployment Assistance/VDOL Resource Centers, or by calling 802-828-4000. The Department’s VOSHA and Project WorkSafe staff are available for consultation and guidance to all employers and contractors involved in the disaster repair work to ensure that the work is being performed properly, to avoid health and safety hazards to workers performing the work.  The Vermont Department of Labor also reminds employers and contractors to be certain that a valid Vermont worker compensation policy is covering the employees, particularly given the hazards that exist with the disaster clean-up, repair or demolition work.  The Department can help you check if a contractor has valid Vermont WC coverage. VDL. 9.8.2011last_img read more

Vermont Electric Cooperative launches transmission upgrade project

first_imgVEC. 9.8.2011 Construction upgrades to 16.9 miles of Vermont Electric Cooperative’s (VEC) transmission system located in the towns of Jay, Westfield and Lowell began this week. The project will replace part of the electric grid that is more than 40 years old and in need of improvement to ensure reliability and safety throughout the northern tier of VEC’s service territory.Further driving the need associated with this upgrade is an increased demand for electricity in this area. Electric load growth in area communities has increased by 10 percent during the past decade. Jay Peak’s demand has grown and with a high level of future economic growth projected, the increased demand for electricity will be dramatic. ‘We’ve recognized the need to make these upgrades for some time and have included them in our long term capital plan,’ said David Hallquist, the CEO of VEC.  Because of a partnership with Green Mountain Power (GMP), VEC members will save millions on these improvements. Additionally, we will benefit from electricity generated by GMP’s Kingdom Community Wind project, which is one of the lowest cost, renewable energy sources currently available in Vermont.’   In late July, VEC members voted to approve the transmission upgrades by a significant margin of nearly 5 to 1.  GMP will pay roughly 58 percent of the cost of the upgrade as part of a partnership with VEC to use a portion of the system’s capacity to deliver electricity from the KCW renewable energy project in Lowell. The transmission line project is expected to continue through mid-summer next year. Many of the upgrades will take place along the existing transmission corridor.  However, there will be some areas where utility poles will need to be moved and tree clearing will be necessary. Limited outages may be needed during the construction process.  VEC and GMP officials will ensure that sufficient notice is provided to VEC members who will be impacted during the construction process. Questions or concerns about this transmission project should be directed to VEC’s member service department at 1-800-832-2667. last_img read more

Study: Midwest generation can be carbon-free by 2050

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享MPR News:A group of utilities, state regulators and environmental groups released a report Tuesday showing it’s possible — with existing technology — for electricity generation in the midcontinent to be carbon-free by 2050.Relatively speaking, the electricity sector has done better than other parts of the economy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Still, in 13 states looked at by the Great Plains Institute, 77 percent of the electricity comes from coal and natural gas. So, how do you get from 77 percent to zero?“Essentially that means more wind, more solar, more energy efficiency,” said Franz Litz, a program consultant with the Great Plains Institute. “It also means really thinking hard about those existing nuclear plants, which don’t have air emissions and could be an important part of the mix when we get out to 2050 and need to be generating our electricity without putting carbon into the air.”Litz says the models the group used didn’t try to guess on what types of new technology might be available by midcentury. The point was to show that decarbonizing is possible with existing technology.But the economics of transitioning away from fossil fuels for electricity generation is where it gets complicated and uncertain. For example, the report says the system will probably need to keep using natural gas — only with carbon capture technology, in which waste carbon is stored and prevented from escaping into the atmosphere.But James Gignac of the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the groups that participated in the report, says we shouldn’t start building a bunch of natural gas plants. “It’s really critical right now that the power companies, utilities and stakeholders take a hard look at the economics of investing in natural gas, especially compared to the cost decline in what we’re seeing with renewables and storage,” he said.More: Study: Carbon-free electricity possible by 2050 Study: Midwest generation can be carbon-free by 2050last_img read more

Wyoming moves forward with self-bonding limits

first_imgWyoming moves forward with self-bonding limits FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:Wyoming’s largest coal mines would effectively be banned from self-bonding if the proposed rules that passed an advisory board Wednesday make it through one more round of public input and onto the governor’s desk.At a sparsely attended meeting in Casper, citizen members of the Land Quality Advisory Board voted 4-1 to require strong credit ratings for companies that want to self-bond. The credit rating would determine whether a company is financially healthy enough to guarantee millions of dollars in cleanup costs without securing a form of insurance. Wyoming has the largest open surface coal mines in the country and the money required to return those mine sites to open prairie or ranchland someday is significant — both as a potential risk to the state and as a cost carried by companies in a difficult coal market.The state is also proposing that mines have at least five years of production remaining in order to qualify for self-bonds, and that even companies that qualify for self-bonds hold a percentage of their reclamation obligation in more secure channels so the state has faster access to cash if a company dissolves.Under the new rules, the massive mines in Wyoming that produce about half the country’s thermal coal are less likely to become a state liability if companies bust, regulators say. Kyle Wendtland, administrator of the state’s Land Quality Division, said the credit rating would give Wyoming foresight into the projected financial health of mining firms. Credit ratings also consider the market and using them would hopefully mitigate the financial and environmental risk to the state posed by a firm heading for insolvency.“You have to consider the physical size of the mines in Wyoming. Nowhere else in the country are they talking about $250, $350 million liability,” he said. ‘Wyoming is not a bank. We’re not in the business of bankrolling reclamation … If you cannot make that minimum, self-bonding just isn’t the right choice.”The Land Quality Advisory Board’s Wednesday decision kicks the proposed rule changes to the Environmental Quality Council – a board of seven that is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Wyoming Senate. If that board approves of the changes, the new rules will be sent to the governor for final approval.More: Despite coal pushback, rules limiting self-bonding advance in Wyominglast_img read more

Washington utility pledges 100 percent clean energy by 2045

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Lewiston Tribune:Spokane-based Avista Utilities announced Thursday it is committing to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045 and to have a carbon neutral supply of electricity by 2027.The company serves customers in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and northeastern Oregon. According to information on the Avista website, about 60 percent of the power now used by its customers comes from clean, non-carbon emitting sources.“Avista has always been committed to balancing reliability and affordability while maintaining responsibility for our environmental footprint, and our actions demonstrate these values,” said Avista President Dennis Vermillion in a letter to customers. “Just in the last three years, we’ve implemented three renewable energy projects on behalf of our customers. Our Community Solar project in Spokane Valley, Wash., the Solar Select project in Lind, Wash., and the Rattlesnake Flat Wind project in Adams County, Wash., together have allowed us to add to the clean electricity we already provide, meet the energy needs of our customers without increasing bills, and drive economic vitality in these communities.”The move was praised by the Sierra Club, although the environmental group noted that a bill pending in the Washington Legislature would require utilities in the state to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045.“Clean energy is getting cheaper and more reliable with each passing month, putting a fossil fuel-free future within our reach. While a bill about to pass the Washington Legislature will already require Avista Energy to move away from coal and fracked gas by 2045, it’s good news that the utility intends to extend the benefits of clean energy to its Idaho customers as well,” said Zack Waterman, director of the Idaho Chapter of the Sierra Club.Last month, Idaho Power, the Gem State’s largest utility, pledged to move to 100 percent clean power by 2045 by moving away from coal and relying on hydroelectricity, solar and wind power.More: Avista Utilities unveils goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045 Washington utility pledges 100 percent clean energy by 2045last_img read more