State Net Capitol Journal Legislative Updates: New Hampshire Legislators Propose Study Committee for Siting Wind Farms

ENERGY: The NEW HAMPSHIRE House and Senate endorse SB 99, which would create two study committees to review the state's criteria for siting wind farms and new electric generation and transmission facilities. It moves to Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) for review (UNION LEADER [MANCHESTER]).

ENVIRONMENT: MICHIGAN Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signs a nine-bill package (SBs 51, 54, 55, 56, 57 and 58 and HBs 4069, 4243 and 4244) that collectively will encourage owners of the Wolverine State's 11 million acres of privately-held forest land to allow logging on their property in exchange for a wide variety of tax incentives (LANSING STATE JOURNAL, MICHIGAN GOVERNOR'S OFFICE).

- Compiled by RICH EHISEN

NYC MAYOR PITCHES SWEEPING STORM PROTECTION PLAN: Last week, less than a year after Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard and with only 203 days left in his final term, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a sweeping plan to protect the city from future storms. The plan, laid out in a 438-page report, included 250 recommendations, such as fortifying the city's power grid, renovating buildings to make them more hurricane resistant and erecting flood barriers around the city, including a system of permanent levies on Staten Island.

The plan would cost about $20 billion over ten years - to start. The cost of some of the plan's more ambitious proposals, like the construction of a so-called Seaport City south of the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, modeled after Battery Park City, aren't included in that estimate.

"This plan is incredibly ambitious - and much of the work will extend far beyond the next 203 days - but we refused to pass the responsibility for creating a plan onto the next administration," Bloomberg said in a speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. "This is urgent work, and it must begin now."

The administration said roughly half the initial $20 billion required would come from federal and city money allocated in the aftermath of Sandy. Another $5 billion in aid had already been approved by Congress, leaving $5 billion for the city to raise.

Bloomberg acknowledged the price tag for the plan was high, but he said the cost of not taking action would be far higher. Sandy cost the city $19 billion in damage and loss of economic activity, he said, but a similar storm three decades from now would cost $90 billion.

"This is a defining challenge of our future," he said.

The plan was generally praised by business and environmental groups. But with officials having projected that over 800,000 city residents would live in 100-year flood zones by the 2050s, more than double the number currently at such risk, some experts questioned whether more consideration needed to be given to evacuating some areas of the city.

"I think that the mayor's plan is great," said Robert S. Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University. "I really appreciate the fact that he acknowledges the problem and understands climate change and the fact that we need to prepare for it. But everyone needs to understand that you can't guarantee protection for infrastructure that is in vulnerable locations, no matter how much money you throw at the problem." (NEW YORK TIMES)

US LEADS WORLD IN SHALE OIL PRODUCTION - FOR NOW: The United States is currently the world leader in shale oil production, on pace to produce more than 3 million barrels of shale oil per day within the next few years. But new estimates of the world's potential shale resources by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest America could eventually be eclipsed in the shale oil revolution by Russia, China and developing countries like Argentina and Algeria.

By the agency's reckoning, Russia, already the world's second-largest oil producer from conventional reservoirs, has about 75 billion barrels of shale oil buried in the underground bedrock of Siberia, while the United States has about 58 billion barrels in underground formations extending from New York to Alaska.

But America is well ahead of Russia and every other country in exploiting its shale oil resources, with U.S. companies having pioneered the advanced technologies required to extract oil from solid rock. Russia hasn't even determined whether doing so is economically feasible.

"In essence, we will still be the leader as Russia and China don't have the resources for now" to get their shale oil out of the ground, said Jason Schack, marketing support representative at oilfield services company Baker Hughes. (WASHINGTON TIMES)

- Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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