June 12, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
"The Supreme Court's decision today is a victory for ensuring fair elections." -- Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (pictured)
Clean Coal Plant Revived
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Friday that the administration is reviving the FutureGen coal-burning power plant. Chu said in a release that the Illinois plant "holds great promise as a flagship facility to demonstrate carbon capture and storage at commercial scale ... Developing this technology is critically important for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and around the world." Under the Energy Department plan, the federal government would provide $1.1 billion towards the project, while private industry would raise $600 million. Construction on the plant could begin as soon as next year.
Denver, Wilkes-Barre Mayors Win Climate Protection Awards
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mayor Thomas Leighton received the 2009 Mayors' Climate Protection Awards, sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wal-Mart. The Awards Program recognizes mayors for innovative practices in their cities designed to increase energy efficiency and curb global warming. An independent panel of judges determined the winners from a pool of 140 applicants.
Ohio State University Students Win EcoCAR Challenge
Friday, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt and Minister of Transport and Infrastructure John Baird announced that a team of engineering students from Ohio State University has won the first phase of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition. The University of Victoria placed second in the competition. Students were encouraged to consider a variety of technologies, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, electric and extended range electric vehicles. The Canadian Government, the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors sponsored the challenge.
IBM Opens High Tech Rail Center in China
On Thursday, IBM opened a new Global Rail Innovation Center in Beijing, saying that the center will bring together the world's foremost industry leaders, researchers and universities to advance next-generation rail systems. The Center's Advisory Board include Judge Quentin L. Kopp, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority; Michigan Technological University; Motorola; Railinc; RMI; Sabre; Tsinghua University; and Professor Joseph M. Sussman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Arizona's GITA Unveils Web Site, Facebook Page and Twitter Feed
Arizona's Government Information Technology Agency (GITA) unveiled its new Web site, integrating new features such as video and interactive graphics. "The Web site creates a way for Arizona citizens to interact with GITA," noted Director Chad Kirkpatrick, "creating ease of use and interactivity brings value to our visitors." GITA has also launched a Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Virginia Creates Health Exchange Network
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine this week announced the creation of the Virginia Health Exchange Network (VHEN). VHEN's secure Web portal will connect Virginia health plans, health systems, and state agencies to standardize and streamline health care administrative transactions. By establishing a single collaborative network, VHEN is expected to lower costs and improve overall service quality across the commonwealth. Most private health plans and public payers are expected to participate in the VHEN program, which allows healthcare providers to determine eligibility status, level of benefits, and other critical information in real-time through a secure Web portal.