Thursday, December 21, 2017

Washington State’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(OLYMPIA, WA) – Washington State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 4.5 percent in November. That’s despite preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that indicate the state added 9,800 jobs over the month.

The state Employment Security Department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary job estimates as part of its November Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that October’s previously announced gain of 6,900 jobs was revised downward to 6,300 jobs. The statewide unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in November 2016.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

California Water & Power Magazine to Debut in 2018 (Ruralite Services)

CMUA and Ruralite team up to start a leading-edge publication focused on two of California’s hottest sectors.

(Sacramento, CA)  The California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) has announced a partnership with Ruralite Services, Inc. (RSI) to launch a new statewide water and energy issues magazine.

The first-of-its-kind quarterly publication, California Water & Power will explore trends and topics around policy, technology, innovation, and management while showcasing how municipally owned utilities are confronting new challenges and embracing new opportunities to provide reliable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible service to Californians.

Each magazine issue will feature stories on water and energy, Q&A interviews with key industry players, a section for news from California publicly owned utilities and private industry, a recurring feature on technology and research, case studies about successful projects and more.

California Water & Power will be the go-to source for news, information and thought leadership about what’s happening in our rapidly evolving industry, at the state Capitol in Sacramento and statewide,” said CMUA Executive Director Barry Moline. “Water and power issues have never been more visible or more discussed in California, so it‘s the perfect time to introduce a new magazine giving CMUA and our 55 member utilities and agencies a voice in the conversation.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with CMUA on this unique and visionary initiative,” said RSI CEO Michael Shepard. “We expect California Water & Power to quickly become a must-read on energy and water issues not just in California, but across the U.S.”

California Water & Power will be distributed in print and digital versions to CMUA members, state regulators, policymakers and legislators, and other key influencers and stakeholders in the water and power industries. The first issue of the magazine is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2018.
CMUA and RSI are natural teammates for the new magazine. Both organizations have worked for decades to advance the interests of community-owned utilities. CMUA’s member agencies provide water service to 27 million people and power service to another 9 million. Revenues for these utilities is estimated to be $10 billion per year.

RSI, a not-for-profit communications cooperative based in Hillsboro, Oregon,  provides customizable magazines in partnership with consumer-owned utilities, as well as website hosting and other services to utilities in California, the West  and nationwide. Its Efficiency Services Group subsidiary, which focuses on providing energy efficiency services, has a long history of partnership with many CMUA member utilities.

CMUA will produce the editorial content in California Water & Power, RSI will assist with content and direct the magazine’s design, production, distribution and business functions.

For editorial inquiries, please contact CMUA Communications Manager Matt Williams at For questions about magazine circulation, email For questions about advertising in California Water & Power, please contact Michael Shepard at CW& .

Members of Congress Press President Trump for 'Strong' Solar Remedy (Politico, Morning Energy)

(WASHINGTON, DC) – About a dozen members of Congress are calling on President Donald Trump to take "strong and effective" action to protect the U.S. solar industry against foreign competition that they said could undermine U.S. energy independence. "In order to ensure electrical grid security, the U.S. cannot afford to become dependent on imports from China and other countries for cutting-edge [crystalline photovoltaic] solar cell and module technology," Sens. Ron WydenJeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown said in a letter to Trump. Eight House lawmakers sent a nearly identical letter making the same argument.

Trump faces a decision by the end of January on whether to restrict imports of solar cells and modules from around the world to give the U.S. industry time to become more competitive. The U.S. International Trade Commission has already recommended relief in an "emergency safeguard" case brought by Georgia-based Suniva and Oregon-based SolarWorld, but it is up to Trump to decide what, if any, action to take. "We urge you to impose a strong and effective remedy that will ensure a growing and competitive U.S. CSPV solar cell and module manufacturing industry and promote robust growth across our entire domestic solar industry," the lawmakers wrote.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Probe Sought in EPA's 'Media Monitoring' Contract (Politico Morning Energy)

(WASHINGTON, DC) – American Oversight and the Environmental Working Group have asked EPA's inspector general to investigate the agency's $120,000 no-bid contract with a firm tied to Pruitt to track news coverage of its activities. "The EPA's decision to award a no-bid contract to a highly political organization with close ties to the current EPA Administrator, particularly combined with the fact that a related organization has been using the Freedom of Information Act to investigate the agency's employees, raises numerous questions about how the EPA is allocating its funds and whether it is complying with all government contracting, legal, and ethical requirement," they wrote. An employee of the group, Definers Public Affairs, has also filed dozens of public records requests for information on employees who have been critical of the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, Public Citizen asked GAO to find the contract was awarded improperly and recommend it be rescinded.

Won't back down: One of EPA's top unions, the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, vowed not to be scared off by the tactics in a statement. "None of us got into this work to be voices of dissent," Nicole Cantello, an official with the union, said. "But in the face of grave injustice and the dangerous actions of the Trump administration, we have a moral obligation to speak out and do everything within the bounds of the law that we can to fight back."

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winlock Time Capsule Prompts Bomb Scare (KELA Radio, Centralia, WA)

(WINLOCK, WA) – A community Christmas event in Winlock is being rescheduled for Thursday night as a result of a bomb scare Saturday.

The Chronicle reports local police and fire crews, a bomb squad and federal agents descended upon Winlock about 3:45 PM after the discovery of an item in the big Winlock egg that looked like a pipe bomb. It turned out to be a time capsule.

Local police contacted the Washington State Patrol’s Explosives Unit. They contacted the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which also responded. When they opened the pipe, instead of shrapnel and explosives, they found pictures and other objects.

The Christmas tree lighting event is rescheduled for this Thursday at 6 PM.