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State Briefs

Boston Harbor to host emergency gasoline reserves

BOSTON — Boston Harbor will soon be home to half a million gallons of federal emergency gasoline reserves.

The Energy Department made the announcement Friday as part of a plan to address future fuel disruptions in the New York City area and New England like those caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The reserves in the Boston and New York harbor areas will total 42 million gallons.

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey said the specific location of the reserves in the Boston Harbor area hasn’t been decided yet, but will be in existing tanks which will be leased.

The government will be soliciting bids and hopes to have the gasoline reserves in place before the start of the 2014 hurricane season this fall.

Markey said the new reserve complements the existing Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

Vt. Senate advances minimum wage bill

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Senate has given preliminary approval to legislation to increase the state minimum wage to $10.50 by 2018.

That’s a larger increase than called for recently by the House, but takes effect more slowly. A House version of the bill calls for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by January. But the House also includes an annual inflation adjuster that could boost the wage above $10.50 by 2018.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and President Barack Obama both are supporting an increase to $10.10 by 2017.

Differences between the Senate and House versions likely will have to be worked out in a legislative conference committee.

Pittsfield lake now clean enough for recreation

PITTSFIELD — A lake that’s had garbage, sewage and PCBs dumped in it, been the site of two major oil spills and once caught fire is now considered clean enough for some recreational activities.

Workers capped major PCB contamination in Silver Lake’s bottom last fall, one of the last procedures in a 16-year effort to clean the 26-acre body of water and open it to catch-and-release fishing, boating and ice skating.

Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi remembers Silver Lake not freezing in the winter and even changing colors from time to time.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful to have a nice lake in the middle of the city,” Bianchi told The Berkshire Eagle.

Not everyone is convinced the lake is safe. Jane Winn, executive director of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, said she doesn’t believe the capping project will work and wouldn’t let her children boat on the lake.

Waste-to-energy plant marks 25 years in Concord

CONCORD, N.H. — A waste-to-energy plant in Concord, New Hampshire, is marking 25 years of operation.

Since it opened in 1989, the Wheelabrator Concord facility has processed more than 4 million tons of waste, generating more than 2.5 million megawatts of electricity.

The plant converts more than 500 tons of post-recycled household and commercial waste daily into energy, generating over 14 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power 14,000 New Hampshire homes as well as its own operations.

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