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An example of the private-sector’s attitudes toward NEPA emerged last September at a Senate hearing discussing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Energy Institute President and CEO Karen Harbert said, “Federal and state environmental statutes such as NEPA, state siting and permitting rules, and a 'build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything' -- BANANA -- mentality, routinely are used to block the construction and expansion of everything from transmission lines to power plants to pipelines.”

Government policies are jeopardizing the reliability and affordability of a service that is vital to the nation's economy, productivity and competitiveness, according to FirstEnergy President and CEO Anthony J. Alexander.

Alexander spoke at yesterday's U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Institute for 21st Century Energy event in Washington, D.C. He said there are no easy choices, but he believes the nation can strike the right balance to ensure affordable, reliable and environmentally sound electric service, while also supporting economic expansion and keeping our country strong and secure.

In his remarks, Alexander said, “The challenges we now face from government interference in the electric business are far more intrusive and disruptive, and I believe far more significant to our industry’s future, and to your future. That’s because whether it impacts our traditional regulated business or our competitive operations, government policy is now aimed at stifling the growth and use of electricity — and picking winners and losers in the competitive marketplace.”

BILLINGS - An energy conference recently held in Billings showed the opportunities for strengthening the economy and achieving energy independence in the United States.

Industry leaders talked about oil, coal, natural gas and renewable energy at Montana Energy 2014.

Foreign companies are making big bets on the Gulf Coast petrochemical corridor, where capital investment is surging because of cheap U.S. natural gas, other lower costs and the existing industry infrastructure.