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Western Wind and Solar Integration Study released

May 31, 2010 --

By Julia Pettit
Stoel Rives LLP, Attorneys at Law

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (“NREL”) recently announced the release of the “Western Wind and Solar Integration Study” (the “WWSIS”), which investigated the operational impact of up to 35% energy penetration of wind, photovoltaic, and concentrating solar power on the power system operated by the WestConnect group of utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.  The WestConnect group includes the following:  Arizona Public Service, El Paso Electric Co., NV Energy, Public Service of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Tucson Electric Power, Western Area Power Administration, and Xcel Energy.

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Oregon Renewable Energy Trends

May 30, 2010 --

By Oregon Employment Department

Oregon’s Renewable Energy Production and Generation Sector – as identified by the Oregon Green Jobs Council – includes firms that produce renewable energy from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, wave, bioenergy, small-hydro, and biofuels technologies.

In fact, more than 200 firms throughout Oregon produce renewable energy. Many of the firms in this sector use byproducts created early in their manufacturing cycle, such as wood scrap from sawing logs, to create energy or heat that is used later in their manufacturing process – to dry cut lumber in kilns for example. Many public utilities and waste disposal facilities are capable of generating renewable energy as well.

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New and improved Oregon Hunting Map

May 29, 2010 --

By Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,

SALEM, Ore.—A new and improved version of Oregon’s Hunting Map is now available online at

http://www.oregonhuntingmap.com/

The interactive Google™ map has added functionalities including:

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2nd highest export level in history forecasted

May 28, 2010 --

Statement From Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack On USDA Forecast For Second-Highest Export Level In History
By U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the most recent U.S. Agricultural Trade Outlook Forecast for fiscal year 2010: “Today’s strong economic report is good news for communities across the country, not only because of the increasing opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers to sell their products overseas, but also because of the importance of agricultural exports to the American economy. With each $1 billion in exports supporting 8,000 to 9,000 jobs at home, efforts to increase trade are an important part of the Administration’s effort to strengthen our economy here at home.

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Oregon AG making magic out of manure

May 27, 2010 --

Oregon animal industries look to turn waste into a resource
By Oregon Department of Agriculture

It’s not exactly the fairy tale theme of turning straw into gold, but Oregon livestock operators are generally succeeding in turning animal manure into something beneficial. From utilizing the nutrients found in animal waste as a fertilizer for crops, to deriving methane gas from manure, dairies and other operations are taking a perceived negative and creating a positive.

“Manure is a reality for dairies and other livestock operations, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” says Wym Matthews, manager of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Program. “Clearly, there needs to be good manure management, but there are many benefits to properly taking care of the animal waste.”

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Farm-Ranch Tax Bill before Congress

May 26, 2010 --

AFBF Backs Bill With Vital Farm and Ranch Tax Provisions
By American Farm Bureau Federation

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2010 – The House is expected to vote soon on legislation that includes a number of tax provisions vital to farmers and rural America. The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging the House to pass the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. In a letter sent to members of the House today, AFBF President Bob Stallman called for prompt passage of the bill to reinstate many tax provisions that expired at the end of 2009. “This bill includes a number of tax provisions that many farmers and ranchers have turned to over the years to protect the bottom line,” said Stallman. “Among these are extension of tax incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel, five-year depreciation for farming business machinery and equipment and a number of other tax deductions that farmers and ranchers rely on to manage cash flow.”

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Immigration reform challenges escalate

May 25, 2010 --

By Curt Kipp
Oregon Association of Nurseries

For quite some time, the nursery industry has been at the forefront of the push for comprehensive federal immigration reform. This means enforcing the law to secure U.S. borders, providing a dependable labor source for industries that need it, and setting up a path for undocumented people already in the country to earn sensible adjustment of status. It’s something that many people in the business, faith and labor communities support.

At the beginning of the year, it looked possible that such reform could forward move in 2010. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) promised to push forward with a bipartisan approach, and President Obama was on board. In the last month, however, the landscape has shifted. Not only has Arizona passed the controversial SB 1070, which made the federal civil matter of illegal immigration a criminal offense at the state level, but Sen. Graham has dropped his support for comprehensive reform.

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Wyden: Green Goods Trade Vastly Overestimated

May 24, 2010 --

Senator Urges USTR to Hone Reporting Standards to Improve Negotiations
By Senator Ron Wyden

Washington, D.C. – Continuing his drive to make exports of environmentally friendly goods a spark that will ignite America’s economic recovery, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today released a follow-up report to his December 2009 trade report entitled, “Major Opportunities and Challenges to U.S. Exports of Environmental Goods,” which looked at the benefits of lowering overseas tariffs to green products produced by American companies. Today’s follow-up report is the first of its kind, offering a new approach to measuring U.S. trade in environmental goods. The more accurate measurements used in the report show that U.S. trade in green goods has been vastly overstated due to a lack of clear definitions of what qualifies a product to be labeled “environmental goods.”

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Congress nears deadline on tax extensions

May 23, 2010 --

Countdown is on for tax extenders legislation
By American Farm Bureau Federation,

Up against a self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (DMich.) is putting together a package of tax credit extensions he expects will quickly be passed by both the House and Senate. The easy part seems to be deciding what to put in the bill. Levin is basing much of his legislation on tax extender provisions included in two separate measures approved in the past six months by each of the chambers.

The hard part is finding a way to pay for it—as required by law—that will please everyone. Most of the tax credits expired at the end of 2009 and would be carried through to the end of this year, although longer extensions are possible.

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Wild Birds Shun Organic Food

May 22, 2010 --

Natural Resource News Note: Sometimes you wonder where the idea of certain studies comes from.    The latest study on organic food comes from Britain.  Health Day News reports.

HealthDay News — You may think organic food is always better for you, but a new British study finds that wild birds beg to differ.  The researchers found that the birds prefer conventional wheat seed, which helps them pack in the protein. The findings, study author Ailsa McKenzie of Newcastle University said in a news release from the school, were likely to be of “considerable interest to the general public in the debate over the relative merits of consuming organic food.”

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