NRI Committee 2014 Spring Webinar Series

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NCSL Webinars allow attendees to participate in meetings taking place around the world from the comfort of their desk. They are collaborative, interactive and easy to use.

Most webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend the live meeting.

Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee 2014 Spring Webinar Series

NCSL’s NRI Committee is pleased to present a series of free webinars open to all interested! The webinars will cover pressing state-federal issues in the areas of agriculture, energy, environment, and transportation.

Join legislative colleagues and interested parties from around the country for a  series of webinars throughout the spring on topics that cross a variety of NCSL Committee jurisdictions:

Webinar Series

Sustainable State Transportation Funding and Spending  |  April 24

Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT/ Noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT

As states finally emerge from the Great Recession, legislatures are seeing a dizzying amount of debate and efforts to catch up on transportation investments. In 2013 alone, six states and the District of Columbia enacted laws that are likely to increase gas taxes, and nearly all of them moved towards tax approaches that track with inflation or gas prices. But the gas tax wasn’t where all the action was. States also looked at mileage-based fees, creative financing, local flexibility, and smart spending. This year is shaping up to be just as active, with bills under consideration in at least 35 states so far.

In this interactive webinar, NCSL transportation funding and finance expert Jaime Rall will share big-picture trends and the ever-important details of recent state efforts to keep transportation budgets sustainable and transparent into the future.

This webinar is graciously supported by Rockefeller Foundation’s funding on equitable, sustainable transportation.


  • Jaime Rall, program manager, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Douglas Shinkle, program principal, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Eric Sundquist, State Smart Transportation Initiative

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A Question of Equity: Net Metering and the Costs and Benefits of Rooftop Solar  |  May 1

Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/  Noon PT

Across the country, the popularity of small scale, on-site power sources known as distributed generation has surged due to policies like net energy metering. Distributed generation, mainly rooftop solar, is transforming the way that electricity is generated, transmitted and distributed and this presents challenges and opportunities for all stakeholders. In numerous state legislatures and public utility commissions, debates are ongoing regarding the most fair and appropriate way to balance customer demand for distributed generation with the impacts new technologies have on the electric power grid.

This webinar features perspectives from the electric power and solar industries on the deployment of rooftop and utility-scale solar, net metering programs and the value of the electric power grid.  The panelists will share their thoughts on how to capture the value that distributed energy and solar provide, while recognizing the value of the electrical grid.


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  • David K. Owens, executive vice president of Business Operations, Edison Electric Institute | PDF Presentation
  • Julia Hamm, president and CEO, Solar Electric Power Association | PDF Presentation

Implementing the 2014 Farm Bill: What it Means for States  |  May 15

Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/  Noon PT

Following extensions in 2012 and 2013, the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law in January 2014. The bill includes funding and authorizations for a number of programs that had previously expired and are being phased back in. From disaster assistance to rural energy programs to conservation assistance, USDA is beginning to unveil the specifics for how will allocate funding and accept applications for numerous programs.

This Webinar will explore those programs for which USDA has released funding or opened the application process. We will also discuss how states can best take advantage of these programs and funding opportunities.


  • Nathan Bowen, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The State's Place in Federal Toxic Chemical Reform  |  May 22

Thursday, May 22, 2014 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/ Noon PT

Recent chemical spill accidents across the country have heightened the need for reform in how the federal government regulates toxic substances. There have not been reforms to the federal regulation of chemicals since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 1976, and in the absence of federal regulation, states have taken it upon themselves to fix inadequacies. In the past year there have been proposals in both houses of congress to reform TSCA that have included troubling preemption clauses to state environmental laws. We will explore these proposals and discuss how states can continue to protect the health and welfare of their citizens while working with the federal government to reform TSCA.


  • Melanie Condon, NCSL State-Federal Relations
  • Andrew Hackman, Serlin Haley LLP
  • Jason Rano, Environmental Working Group

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The Rise of Renewables: Integration Challenges and Opportunities  |  May 29

Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/  Noon PT

As states reach higher levels of renewable energy, challenges can arise because of larger amounts of wind and solar energy on the electric grid. Although power systems have been designed to incorporate the variable and uncertain nature of energy demand, renewable energy can add to this variability. This webinar will explore the variety of solutions available to reduce these impacts, and how states can cost-effectively integrate renewables into the power system.


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An Introduction to Food Safety  |  June 13

Friday, June 13 | 1 p.m. ET/ Noon CT/11 a.m. MT/10 a.m. PT

This webinar explored food safety – what it is, how food outbreaks and illnesses occur, and how states are at the forefront of food safety.  States legislatures have adopted laws permitting the sale of raw milk, exempting cottage food industries from state regulations, and encouraging local foods. However the recent Listeria outbreak in cantaloupe; salmonella from peanut products, E-coli from fresh vegetables has the health community concerned. This webinar will explore the nation’s food safety system, how it works and what happens when it fails.


  • Tiffiani J. Miller Onifade, director, Division of Food Safety, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • ​Hank Giclas, senior vice president, Strategic Planning, Science & Technology, Western Growers Association
  • Carol Selman, public health advisor, Environmental Health Services Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Increasing Natural Gas Pipeline Safety  |  June 18

Wednesday, June 18 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT/  Noon PT

From Harlem to California to Boston, the issue of leaking natural gas pipelines and their impacts on safety are front page stories on a monthly basis. While it is widely acknowledged, even by those in the industry, that pipeline infrastructure in certain parts of the country is decades past its “replace by” date, there are often multiple interwoven factors, including cost, overlapping jurisdiction and public impacts that slow down this process. How then, are natural gas utilities planning to overcome these obstacles to bring the nation’s system of natural gas pipelines into the 21st century?


  • State Senator Michael Jacobs - Illinois, Chair, Senate Energy Committee
  • Bruce L. Paskett, principal compliance engineer, NW Natural

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Small Modular Reactors (SMR) Webinar  |  June 19

Thursday, June 19 | 3 p.m. ET/ 2 p.m CT/ 1 p.m. MT/ Noon PT

Today, large commercial nuclear reactors generate approximately 20 percent of the nation’s electricity and contribute 60 percent of the nation’s carbon-free electricity. Growing domestic electricity demand and a drive to use low-emission technologies bode well for the future of the domestic nuclear energy industry. However, an aging reactor fleet, rising costs, safety concerns, and increasing pressure from low-cost natural gas pose challenges for the industry. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) offer the potential to mitigate some of these challenges. This webinar explores the unique characteristics of SMRs and their potential role in the nuclear energy industry. It also discusses state and federal efforts to support development of SMR technologies.


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