In Brief

New Mexico Senate Backs Solar Contracts for State Buildings

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ A legislative initiative that could spur the installation of solar panels on New Mexico state buildings has been approved by the state Senate.

The Senate on Monday voted 36-4 to direct the state General Services Department to pursue contracts with solar providers that save the state money on electricity costs over time with no up-front public investment.

The bill also opens the way for contracts that generate electricity with wind turbines or use the sun to heat water.

Democratic Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces is sponsoring the legislation in an effort to create jobs and increase investment in the solar industry.

The General Services Department has voiced concerns that developing renewable-energy contract guidelines will put a strain on its administrative staff and construction project managers. It oversees 750 buildings.

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Walker Recommends $803 Million in State Building Projects

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Gov. Scott Walker is recommending spending $803 million on state building projects over the next two years, with nearly $450 million of the funding coming from new borrowing.

Walker says the capital budget he released Tuesday prioritizes investment in current facilities and limits new construction.

Projects to be funded that Walker highlights include a $75 million replacement for the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s crime lab in Milwaukee.

Walker proposes spending $33 million renovate and repair Sandburg Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

There is also $5 million for a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Innovation Center in Green Bay. Walker is also calling for $5 million to remodel and expand the La Crosse Center.

The Building Commission was set to meet in March to vote on the recommendations.

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Report Finds Deficient Bridge in NE Kansas, NW Missouri

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) _ Hundreds of bridges in northwest Missouri and northeastern Kansas are being called “structurally deficient.”

The St. Joseph News-Press (http://bit.ly/2mCFLYS ) reports that the National Bridge Inventory Database defines a structurally deficient bridge as having one or more structural defects that require attention. It doesn’t mean the bridges are unsafe for driving and does not identify the severity of the deficiency.

Missouri Department of Transportation bridge engineer Scott Stephens says that if a bridge is deemed unsafe for driving, MoDOT will close the route to the bridge until repairs are made.

The 2016 report says one Missouri county alone, Nodaway County, has 60 deficient bridges, and DeKalb County has 45. In Kansas, the survey found 53 structurally deficient bridges in Atchison County and 28 in Doniphan County.

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Officials Threaten to Shut Down Septic System in Keystone

KEYSTONE, S.D. (AP) _ Federal regulators are threatening to shut down a septic system at a hotel near Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Officials say The Lodge at Mount Rushmore has discharged wastewater onto a neighbor’s land and could be contaminating the hotel’s drinking water, the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/2lHICDc ) reported.

In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the hotel’s owner, Mark Arend, to either abandon and plug the hotel’s septic tank or apply for an underground injection control permit to potentially resume operation.

The EPA asked Arend two months later, after he applied for a permit, to submit water-sampling data for the septic system and the hotel’s drinking-water well. The EPA didn’t receive the data and later discovered the septic system was still in use.

Arend said his company has spent $36,000 to fix all the major problems with the septic system.

“We’re in touch with the EPA continually to get it resolved,” Arend said.

The EPA published a statement saying it was tentatively denying the hotel’s permit because of potential contamination of an underlying aquifer and nearby wells.

The federal agency notes that the hotel’s well-supplied drinking water system has been cited by state regulators for numerous violations during the past five years, “for failing to take routine samples to monitor total coliform bacteria, for exceeding allowable contaminant levels for total and fecal coliform bacteria, and for failing to take source samples for E. coli.”

According to documents published by the EPA, local, state and federal authorities have been trying to bring the hotel’s septic system into regulatory compliance since 2015.

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Montana Lawmakers Consider Stricter Pipeline Regulations

HELENA, Mont. (AP) _ Montana lawmakers are considering a measure that would ban putting large pipelines under rivers or lakes.

The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/2lryiwh ) that Montana Rep. George Kipp III, a Heart Butte Democrat, says he introduced the bill to protect rivers and streams as well as underground aquifers.

The bill would ban pipelines 10 inches or larger in diameter from going under navigable bodies of water. It would also establish regulations for above-ground construction, including rules on casings and leak detection.

The regulations would apply to fossil fuels, including crude petroleum, coal and their products.

The House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications Committee held a hearing on the measure Monday and took no action on the bill.

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Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Crowd Brandstad’s  Office

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Protesters have crowded Gov. Terry Branstad’s office to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline that passes through Iowa.

About 20 people came to the Iowa Capitol at 1 p.m. Wednesday, saying they wanted to speak with Branstad about their opposition to the pipeline. Branstad is in Washington for National Governors Association meetings until Monday.

Ed Fallon, the director of BOLD Iowa, has organized a day of protests across the state to confront officials and businesses that aided construction of the pipeline.

Some members of the group say they plan to remain in Branstad’s office after 5 p.m., at which point they could be charged with trespassing.

Federal officials have approved construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline but that decision is being appealed in court.

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Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Crowd Brandstad’s  Office

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Protesters have crowded Gov. Terry Branstad’s office to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline that passes through Iowa.

About 20 people came to the Iowa Capitol at 1 p.m. Wednesday, saying they wanted to speak with Branstad about their opposition to the pipeline. Branstad is in Washington for National Governors Association meetings until Monday.

Ed Fallon, the director of BOLD Iowa, has organized a day of protests across the state to confront officials and businesses that aided construction of the pipeline.

Some members of the group say they plan to remain in Branstad’s office after 5 p.m., at which point they could be charged with trespassing.

Federal officials have approved construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline but that decision is being appealed in court.

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Posted by on Apr 1st, 2017 and filed under Intel Brief. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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