Thursday, February 12, 2015

Governor Wolf Discusses Oil and Gas Pennsylvania Severance Tax

Gov. Tom Wolf's news conference was broadcast on PCN this morning and a portion of it can be viewed at:

The link to a seven-minute video is the second item on this website at the present time.  It does not include the questions and answers with reporters. Summary of key points, gas industry, perspective:

  • "He answered one question about working with the industry to accept a tax which included the statement,"The alternative is not no tax. It's no drilling, a ban like in New York."  A reporter asked him whether that was a threat, and he said, "No, it is not a threat.  Thank you for allowing me to clarify that."
  • On several occasions, he made the comment that we and other states have "natural resources," not "natural gas" that is appropriate to tax.  He corrected himself at one point when he started to say "natural gas" to instead say "resource..." It will remain to be seen whether the administration advances a broader tax on "extraction" industries in Pennsylvania.
  • He claimed in his opening remarks that the WV tax will reach one billion/year, through the 5 percent and 0.047/MCF approach.   He also said that the bill will protect property owners by not letting producers pass along the tax on royalty payments.
  • He said the impact fee will be rolled into this new tax so communities will continue to receive that money.  The lion's share, however, will be targeted to education, with some to DEP to make sure we do this right and some set aside for investment in alternative energy.
  • Finally, he said the 5 percent on wellhead price plus the $0.047/MCF tax on volume will provide more predictability outside of price fluctuations, calling it a "hedge" against pricing changes.  He stated that West Virginia's tax structure is a "good laboratory and it's one that works.  They have a healthy industry there."   Given the difference in production levels between Pennsylvania and West Virginia over the past several years, the validity of that statement is very questionable. "
My comments
1. Taking this money and pouring down the education hole in PA without addressing the need to reform education spending, pensions, etc - Is a bad idea?
2. Investing the money in just renewable energy is a bad idea?  We can do better with conservation measures, energy efficiency, upgrading infrastructure - the only real reliable alternative energy in PA is biomass and groundsource.   (Commercial scale solar and wind - hit or miss).
3. PADEP - needs a solid investment, but this should come from fees, fines, and the cost of obtaining and maintain a permit.
4. Sorry I think the proposal is short-cited and needs work.
5.What is next on the resource extraction tax?  (Water, food, coal, Gravel, Stone, Wildlife).

6. How about no extraction tax on resources used in PA?  Use this to promote PA manufacturing and energy production.

Just a thought


Pittsburgh, Pa. – Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Spigelmyer issued the following statement on Governor Wolf’s new energy tax proposal unveiled today in Thorndale, Pennsylvania:
“Governor Wolf fails to acknowledge that the natural gas industry already pays significant taxes in Pennsylvania. Natural gas operators pay the same taxes that every other business in Pennsylvania pays, which has helped generate more than $2.1 billion through 2013.  Pennsylvania is the only state that imposes a special impact tax that will have generated nearly $830 million by April of this year, directly benefiting all 67 counties throughout the Commonwealth.  Pennsylvanians have realized more than $700 million in royalties from energy-development on public lands. By any measure, these are significant revenues that are boosting local communities, as well as important environmental programs.  More importantly, revenue estimates fail to account for the more than 200,000 hard-working Pennsylvanians who are employed by or support this industry and generate substantial revenue for the Commonwealth by paying their taxes.
“While we look forward to evaluating the policy details outlined by the Governor today, it’s clear that new energy taxes will discourage capital investment into the commonwealth and make Pennsylvania less competitive. Make no mistake, adding a five percent tax to any business sector – including the energy industry – is going to reduce capital spending and hit the supply chain, especially Pennsylvania-based small and mid-sized businesses, as well as our region’s labor and building trades.
“Pennsylvanians are looking to their elected officials to help create new jobs, not new taxes, especially during these difficult and challenging times within an industry that has reduced energy costs for every consumer and been a bright spot for the Commonwealth’s economy.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

Insurance Training Reviewing Your Property and Casualty Insurance Policy

Insurance Training Career Development
Reviewing Your Property and Casualty Insurance Policy

To put it simply, an annual review of property and casualty insurance policies is necessary because insurance coverage and personal situations are constantly subject to change. This is the perfect time to start a tradition to review your policy(ies) every year to make sure that your coverage is best suited to your ever-changing needs. You should have a property and casualty insurance whether you own a property or not. Your coverage requires maintenance to address the changes that occur during the year. It is my job to determine how these changes affect your coverage.

Did your household demographics change?
If there are changes to the number of licensed drivers in your household from the time when your present policy was assessed, then your coverage must reflect this change.
Did your situation change in such a way that affects your deductible?
If you can increase the payment of your premium, then you can reduce the amount of your deductible.
Did the factors that affect your rates change (aside from your driving records)?
The value of your vehicle?
Your credit history ?
Your civil status? 
Your age ?
How much you drive and the distance you travel on a regular basis?


It is in your best interest to insure your residence, whether you own it or not. Generic coverage for homeowners usually includes the dwelling and other structures on the property. It protects policyholders from situations that would prohibit the owner from using the property. Fire, theft, and certain weather conditions are common examples.

Considering the fact that certain situations are unpredictable, reassessment may be necessary for your policy. Immediate damage may be covered by your existing policy, but subsequent damage may not be included. For example, severe weather conditions and flooding caused by melting precipitation can cause damage that is not presently covered and has to be addressed in additional coverage.
Perhaps you have assumed responsibility for an additional household. When your children go away to college, they will need protection whether they live on campus or not.

These and other adjustments may affect the value and definition of your property. If any of these factors changes, then so should your rates and coverage. Belongings in your house should be covered as well. Part of your responsibility is to provide the necessary criteria to file a claim properly. Document any item for which you would potentially file a claim. This documentation should be updated as items are added or deleted from the list. This is especially important if you are renting or occupying a condominium. Your possessions require your personal attention. Establishing and maintaining insurance requires a working relationship between the insurer and the insured. We both have expectations to meet and responsibilities to fulfill. All of your policies can be reviewed at the same time to ensure appropriate coverage.

Tricia Sharpton is currently the Product Manager of Financial Service Education for Learning Insurance , one of the leading online financial services education providers. Her experience lies in day to day management of Financial Services education production, accreditation, customer service, marketing, and quarterly/yearly strategic planning, as well as identifying and establishing new business development ventures. Before joining the education team, Tricia operated her own Financial Services practice that focused on life insurance and investment planning for small business owners and families in the Austin area. Tricia holds a Texas Life and Health license, Series 6, and 63 license. Prior to Tricia becoming a licensed agent, she recruited new agents for a large life insurance company. Her expertise as an agent and recruiting agents offers her a unique insight rare to her role as a Product Manager. Tricia earned her Bachelor’s degree from Troy University with a major in Business Management.

To learn about training courses for insurance professionals, please visit - Small Business, Project Management, and Professional Training Center.

New Tracers Can Identify Fracking Fluids

Alexandria, Va. — Hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas extraction method known popularly as fracking, has been controversial in large part to the concern about groundwater contamination by the fluids used in the process, especially the so-called flowback fluids that re-emerge at the surface from fracking wells and are usually disposed of by waste water fluid injection into other formations. Now, researchers have developed a geochemical method of identifying fracking fluids in the environment. The tool could be used to identify hazardous spills in the future and may even lead to better use and disposal of fracking wastewater.
Read more about how scientists came up with the new tracers and what they might mean for wastewater disposal in the February issue of EARTH magazine:
The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of 50 geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.
Continuing Education Courses in Hydraulic Fracturing

Nitrous oxide 300 times global warming - No Whip-Its !

Natural Sciences Field Research

Generate data in the field and analyze it on the spot to fast track critical environmental research. With real-time results, you will be able to identify trends faster and pursue new research questions as they emerge, without returning to the lab.
Wherever you go—from Antarctica to the Andes to the Sahara—Picarro’s rugged and compact systems measure concentration and isotope ratios for the most important molecules, with up to parts per billion resolution. You can use gas, liquid or solid samples; our handling accessories will make them work.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) with approximately 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.  Therefore, understanding the sources and sinks of N2O is important for balancing the global carbon and nitrogen cycle. In addition to the flux of N2O from agricultural soils, wastewater treatment plants are recognized as a significant source of N2O emissions. 

Recently, Lai Peng and colleagues in Australia published their research work on the effect of dissolved oxygen on N2O production by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.  They found that N2O production increased with increasing dissolved oxygen content.  In addition, they used a Picarro G5101-i to identify the key pathways for N2O production.  By comparing the site-preference for a heavy stable isotope of nitrogen (15N) in N2O produced by different chemical pathways relevant to wastewater treatment, they were able to determine the relative contribution of those pathways to total N2O production.  Site preference studies are possible using Picarro's core technology, Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy, because each molecule, and isotope combination, has a unique optical absorption spectrum. 

I hope you enjoy reading about this novel application of Picarro's technology and how measuring N2O concentration and isotopes enables scientists and policy makers learn more about the global carbon and nitrogen cycle. 

Sustainability Training
Basic Environmental Monitoring

Anaerobic Digestion Making Biogas Making Energy

The new Earthscan Expert Series book Anaerobic Digestion – Making Biogas – Making Energy by Tim Pullen is now out. It is the 12th book in the series.

The book is an easy-read illustrated introduction to all aspects of running an anaerobic digestion plant and producing biogas, either to use directly as a gas or generate electricity for sale to the utility grid.

The complete Earthscan Expert Series can be viewed at

"A biogas production system must be specially designed and requires regular attention by someone familiar with the needs and operation of the digester. Associated manure handling equipment and gas utilization components are also required. The digester does not remove significant nutrients and requires an environmentally responsible manure storage and handling system.
A well designed and operated digester will require modest daily attention and maintenance. The care and feeding of a digester is not unlike feeding a cow or a pig; it responds best to consistent feeding and the appropriate environmental (temperature and anaerobic- oxygen free) conditions. The earlier a problem in operation is identified the easier it is to fix and still maintain productivity." (PSU, 2014)

The following course is now scheduled:
Introduction to Renewable Energy Technologies
20-22 April 2015 in Berlin, Germany
The course will cover solar electricity, solar thermal, wind power, bioenergy technologies, micro-hydro, finance and investing in renewable energy, and the German experience with renewable energy.

Email us at for further information on course contents, venue details and prices.

For more books on renewable energy, Shale Gas or online training courses.

Insist on Energy Star® Qualified Windows

Insist on Energy Star® Qualified Windows

Windows must meet minimum performance criteria during testing to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. Whole-window U-values are one of the criteria used to label window and door products in the ENERGY STAR program. Windows with clear single-pane glass can’t achieve the ratings necessary to qualify for ENERGY STAR labeling. High-performance glass systems, which consist of double- or tripleinsulating glass, low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings and usually an inert gas between the glass panes, are often used to help windows to comply with ENERGY STAR requirements.

How to Compare Whole-Window U-Values
When comparing whole-window U-values, we suggest that you evaluate windows based on the sizes dictated by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). This ensures an accurate comparison of performance among windows. This data is available on, which provides links to NFRC data for all participating window manufacturers.  If the window manufacturer you are considering is not represented on, then it is likely that the company does not participate in the ENERGY STAR® program, and that could tell you something about how energy efficient that company’s windows really are.

“R-values,” “whole-window U-values,” “center-of- glass U-values” and other window terms can boggle the mind. Confused by all the different window performance terminology you’re hearing and seeing? You don’t need to be. The information presented in this leaflet will help so that you can make educated purchasing decisions. If there’s ONE thing you should know, it’s this: When considering windows and determining the type of glass that will be used in them, the performance criterion you need to focus on is the whole-window U-value.

A window’s “U-value” indicates the rate of heat flow through a window. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the window is. Whole-window U-values are an indication of the performance of the window’s glass and its other components and characteristics. The thermal properties of its frame, spacer system, weather stripping and even grids, if the window has them, all have a bearing on the window’s wholewindow U-value. The whole-window U-value is the only form of measurement accepted by the ENERGY STAR® program for determining whether windows qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. For more information on ENERGY STAR qualified windows, visit

Don’t Be Fooled
For an accurate comparison of windows and doors, ask to see the products’ WHOLEWINDOW U-VALUES with the particular type of glass system you are considering. Ensure that the data you are being shown is NOT center-of-glass U-values or R-values. This is important, because the more thermally efficient your windows and doors are, the more comfortable you will be in your home—and the more money you will save with lower energy bills.

For More information on Energy Efficient Windows for Pennsylvania and the Northeast Region.  Check General Manager
A&B Sunroom &Remodeling

More Energy Efficient Products
Learn About Energy Audits

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Spinnaker Group Inc. Named LEED Proven

WESTON, Fla. -- Today, The Spinnaker Group announced that the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) has designated The Spinnaker Group, a LEED® Proven Provider™ for the Building Design and Construction rating system family. This designation was developed to streamline the LEED project review process for experienced organizations that demonstrate consistent excellence in administering LEED projects.
“Quality is at the core of the LEED certification process, and The Spinnaker Group has exhibited expertise in helping to bring healthy, high-performing buildings to the market,” said Doug Gatlin, vice president of program delivery, USGBC and GBCI. “The LEED Proven Provider model represents a great partnership between The Spinnaker Group and GBCI, because it allows GBCI to maintain a rigorous certification program and gives The Spinnaker Group the opportunity to deliver LEED projects to its clients faster.”

“The Spinnaker Group is proud to be chosen to this select group of sustainability professionals,” reports Rob Hink, Managing Principal. “This reflects The Spinnaker Group's continuous focus on delivering the highest level of quality to our clients.”

Read more about this release here.

Online Training Courses

Green Building
Project Management

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