Legislative Energy Horizons Institute Concludes First Session for 2014 Class

Richland, WA — The Legislative Energy Horizon Institute (LEHI) brought together 34 state and provincial legislative energy leaders in its 2014 class for the first thirty hours of the acclaimed certificate program August 23 – 26 in Richland, Wash. Founding LEHI sponsors include the Northwest Gas Association and NWGA member companies Puget Sound Energy and Spectra Energy.

In its sixth year, the Institute offers policymakers the chance to dramatically improve their knowledge of the energy infrastructure and delivery system, enhancing their ability to make the complex policy decisions that will be necessary to ensure the region has a stable, secure and affordable energy supply and delivery system. The three-and-a-half day session in Richland focuses its in-depth curriculum on how energy infrastructure operates, and the complex issues associated with electricity, natural gas and petroleum infrastructures, regulations and interdependencies.

“It is critical that citizen legislators get this basic boot camp of how our energy infrastructure works, is built and operated so they make informed policy decisions about our energy future,” said Jeff Morris, Institute Director.

Outside of thirty hours of class time on electricity, oil and gas, integrating renewables, alternative fuels for transportation and the smart grid, most of the class toured the Columbia Nuclear Generating station and the Nine Canyon Wind Farm, both operated by Energy Northwest.

Over 100 policymakers have attended the Institute. Those completing the 60 hour executive course get a Certificate from the University of Idaho in Energy Policy Planning. These Alumni have gone on to become leaders in their respective state and provincial governments in energy, chairing energy or environment committees.

Two of the three Western Canadian Energy Ministers have graduated from the program.

The next in-person session will take place in Washington, D.C. November 13 – 15, 2014.



The Legislative Energy Horizon Institute (LEHI) educates legislators on the North American energy infrastructure and delivery system. The Institute was created through a partnership between the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) and the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) along with the University of Idaho and the Department of Energy. High turnover in legislatures decreases the institutional knowledge of complex energy issues. Legislators who develop energy policy often lack a comprehensive understanding of how energy infrastructure operates. The complex issues associated with electricity, natural gas and petroleum infrastructure; regulation governing this infrastructure; and interdependencies are just some of the areas that legislators must understand to make responsible and informed policy decision.

Class of 2014


Representative Dan Saddler

Representative Doug Isaacson

Representative Bryce Edgmon


MLA Alana DeLong MLA David Dorward


Representative Lane Jean

British Columbia

MLA Mike Bernier


MLA Sebastian Ridley-Thomas


Representative Dominick Moreno

Senator Matt Jones


Representative Jose Felix Diaz


Representative Kelley Packer

Representative Phylis King

Representative Janet Trujillo


Senator Dave Koehler


Senator John Hoffman


Representative Patricia Peppers

New York

MLA Angelo Santabarbara


Representative Jeff Reardon

Representative Mark Johnson

Senator Arnie Roblan

Representative Caddy McKeown

Senator Alan Olsen

Senator Bill Hansell


MNA Guy Bourgeois


Senator Joe Uecker


Representative Ken King


Representative Cindy Ryu

Representative Chad Magendanz

Representative Zack Hudgins

Staff Debbie Driver

Staff Clay Hill

Western Governors Association

Policy Staff Christopher Scolari

Finishing Course in 2013 DC session

Alberta Minister Cal Dallas

Washington Senator Andy Billig

Northwest Territory Min. David Ramsay

NW Natural teams up with American Red Cross for Natl. Preparedness Month Events

PORTLAND, Ore. – The American Red Cross and NW Natural are teaming up during National Preparedness Month to help Oregonians and Southwest Washingtonians prepare for a natural disaster or emergency. During the month of September, Get Ready events will be held in the eight communities of Portland, Vancouver, Salem, Albany, The Dalles, Seaside, Lincoln County, and Coos Bay.

The events are free to the general public. The first 100 families will receive small Red Cross emergency kits. Free lunch will be provided at most locations, as well as safety demonstrations, kids’ activities and materials from local emergency groups. There is no need to register; attendees can just show up.

“These community gatherings are fun and a great way to introduce family conversation about what to do, where to go and who to rely on should a disaster occur,” said Cara Sloman, regional disaster program officer for the American Red Cross Cascades Region. “A wealth of resources are on site at each event, thanks to the coordinating efforts of NW Natural.”

Here are the details on who will be joining the American Red Cross Cascades Region and NW Natural for each event:

* Get Ready Portland, September 6 —Unthank Park, 510 N Shaver St., Portland, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., joined by Portland Fire & Rescue, Multnomah County Office of Emergency Management, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, Portland Police, DOGAMI, Legacy Emanuel Hospital, AMR, Oregon Food Bank and Self Enhancement Inc.

* Get Ready Vancouver, September 6 – NW Natural and the Red Cross will have our Get Ready table at CRESA’s Community Expo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Note: we are not providing free lunch at this event).

* Get Ready Coos Bay, September 13 – Coos Bay Fire Station on Elrod Ave. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., joined by Coos Bay Fire Department, Coos County Emergency Management, Coos Bay Police, North Coos 911 Center, Bay Cities Ambulance, South Coast Preppers, Hazmat Team 15, Coast CPR, Pacific Power, Car Seat Coalition, Coos County Assessor’s Office, Salvation Army, Bay Area Hospital and more.

* Get Ready Salem, September 20 — Salem Riverfront Park, North Meadow, Rotary Pavilion, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., joined by Salem Fire Department, Salem CERT, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Rural/Metro Ambulance, Salem Health, and Polk County Sheriff Marine Patrol.

* Get Ready The Dalles, September 20 – Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue, 1400 W 8th St., The Dalles, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., joined by Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, CERT, Medical Reserve Corps, Lifeflight, Food Bank, OSU Extension Service and SERVPRO.

* Get Ready Albany, September 27 – Gibson Hill, 2880 Gibson Hill Road, Albany, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., joined by Linn County Emergency Management, Linn County CERT, Linn County Medical Reserve Corp, Albany Fire Dept., Albany Police, Mid-Valley LEPC, Linn County, Amateur Radio, the local food bank, humane society and more.

* Get Ready North Coast, September 27 – Seaside Fire Dept., 150 South Lincoln, Seaside, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. joined by Seaside Fire Department, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Lutheran Disaster Response, Clatsop County Amateur Radio Emergency Services, and Clatsop County Emergency Management.

* Get Ready Lincoln County, September 27 – North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District #1, Taft Fire Hall, 4520 SE Hwy 101, Lincoln City, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., joined by North Lincoln Fire & Rescue, Lincoln City Police and Lincoln County Sheriff, CERT, United States Coast Guard, SERVPRO, Lincoln City Electronic Super Store, Lincoln County School district and more.

“We’re pleased to host a series of readiness events with the Red Cross for the third year in a row,” said Von Summers, NW Natural community affairs manager. “Safety is a top priority for NW Natural and we want to help our communities prepare for any natural disaster that might occur.”

Natural Gas Term of the Week: Biomethane

What it means: Biogas, produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter, that has been upgraded to purity levels making it interchangeable with natural gas.  Also referred to as “renewable natural gas”, biomethane can be sourced from all manner of decaying matter, from agricultural byproducts including cow manure to purified landfill gas.

See it in action: FortisBC and NW Natural are among the NWGA members getting behind biomethane. Both have programs allowing utility customers to purchase some portion of their monthly natural gas usage as biomethane, reducing their carbon footprint.

Local waste collectors are also working on turning the organic waste they pick up into valuable fuel. Waste Management, the largest trash collector in the US, recently announced a joint venture with the aim of turning the biogas they produce into liquid vehicle fuels. In the region, Columbia Biogas near Portland is also in the process of developing a waste to gas facility.

For a more in depth overview of FortisBC’s program carve 3 minutes out of your day and check out this video:

Follow the NWGA on Twitter: @Ben_at_NWGA

8/11 Serves as Reminder to Call 811 Before Digging

PORTLAND, Ore. — NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) hopes this date, 8/11, will serve as a reminder to call 811 before digging to have underground utility lines marked. Every six minutes a line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.

“On Aug. 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and contractors to call 811 before digging to eliminate the risk of striking an underground utility line,” said Scott Gallegos, compliance supervisor for NW Natural. “It really is the only way to know which lines are buried in your area.”

Striking a gas pipeline can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. That’s why it is a federal law to call 811 at least two business days before digging.

When the call is made, the homeowner or contractor is connected to the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utilities of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested site to mark the locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.