Two election drop-outs, energy’s short-term future, a pot vending machine, more

Edwards Will Drop Out: Giuliani Expected to Follow

“Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, a day after his dismal showing in the Florida Democratic primary. “

“Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to drop out of the race and throw his support to McCain, as the Arizona senator’s campaign builds momentum going into next week’s Super Tuesday contests.”

Lawmakers fight new rules for oil and gas commission

“A group of lawmakers sent Gov. Bill Ritter a letter today calling proposed rules for oil and gas production “unacceptable” and beyond what the legislature intended.”

“The legislature passed two bills last year to tighten regulation of the oil and gas industry. One revamped the oil and gas commission, requiring more experts on wildlife and environmental concerns. The other new law required oil and gas companies to minimize the impact of exploration and drilling on wildlife and their habitat.”

FutureGen changes could land it in Texas after all

“The news about the Energy Department’s plans comes only a day after President Bush emphasized the federal government’s role in funding clean-coal technology in his State of the Union speech. Department officials said the plans for FutureGen don’t mean they are reducing their commitment to clean-coal projects.”

“FutureGen was a technological anomaly when Mr. Bush announced it in February 2003. Since then, mounting pressure on power companies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have prompted them to move forward with cleaner technology.”

“Two power companies are considering coal gasification plants, known as integrated gasification combined cycle, or IGCC. NRG Energy has said it’s ready to plan an IGCC plant if state or local governments offer financial aid.”

Disparity in compensation for solar use sprouts bills

“When it comes to incentives and policies for people looking to make their own power across Colorado, which utility provider they are under can make all the difference — and not just for selling power back to the grid.”

“But Stan Lewandowski, IREA’s general manager and a frequent renewable energy critic, said a change to net-metering laws would hurt his customers who don’t net meter. In addition to electricity costs, the costs of maintaining the power lines and operating the utility are also built into his retail power rate, he said. If net-metering customers receive the retail rate for their power, he said, they won’t be paying their fair share of the other costs.”

O’Malley’s goal: Green Buildings

“Gov. Martin O’Malley has proposed legislation that would require using energy- and resource-efficient building design and materials in all newly constructed or significantly renovated state buildings, as well as in all state-financed public school buildings – even if they cost a little more to build. Advocates say the buildings will save money on energy bills in the long run.”

“Achieving that standard could increase construction costs by as much as 2 percent, the council says. In Maryland, an extra 2 percent could add $22.7 million to the cost of 29 state building projects planned over the next five years, according to the state Department of Budget and Management.”

“But advocates point out that studies have shown that green buildings save enough in utility costs over the years to more than repay the added upfront cost.”

Miami commission aims to crack down on litter

“If passed, the ordinances would allow city code enforcers to fine people who put up signs on public land and put liens against any property they own if they fail to pay. “

“Companies and individuals who dump handbills also could be hit with fines. Even if it is the recipient of a handbill who throws the promotional material in the street, the person or company responsible for distributing the handbill could be held accountable, said Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. He said city officials are looking to Miami Beach, which passed similar regulation last year.”

Spot a Drunken Driver, Get $100

“In an effort to combat the number of intoxicated motorists on the road, Elgin police will offer $100 to motorists who report impaired driving to police and the report leads to a DUI arrest.”

“Elgin Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey A. Swoboda said awards would be based on successful arrests, meaning police would have to witness impaired driving taking place before a driver is pulled over.”

Vending machines dispense pot in LA

“Patients suffering from chronic pain, loss of appetite and other ailments that marijuana is said to alleviate can get their pot with a dose of convenience at the Herbal Nutrition Center, where a large machine will dole out the drug around the clock.”

“At least three dispensaries in the city, including two belonging to Mehdizadeh, have installed vending machines to distribute the drug to people who carry cards authorizing marijuana use.”

“A guard in a black T-shirt emblazoned with the word ‘Security’ on the front stands at the door. A poster of Bob Marley decorates a back room.”

Tags: miami, dallas, david anderson, martin o'malley, john edwards, governor ritter, rudy guiliani, election drop outs, futuregen