News roundup: Broome’s transition committees get to work … Flood grants could reach homeowners by the spring … US to become net exporter of energy in next 15 years

    On the job: Meetings are underway for Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s 21 transition committees, which have been tasked with gathering information and recommending policy for her new administration. According to a news release, the public works committee has met with the six department of heads of the city-parish’s Public Works Department to discuss that department’s challenges and efficiencies. A committee tasked with gathering information about flood recovery also held several meetings, as has a committee charged with learning about economic development in the city-parish. The transition meetings are closed to the public. Broome also met with the co-chairs of the committees on Thursday. A comprehensive report and public debriefing from each committee will take place on Jan. 31.

    Trickling down: Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Restore Louisiana Task Force members will officially announce their plans to spend $1.6 billion Congress appropriated so far for the March and August floods during the committee’s meeting at 1 p.m. today in Livingston Parish, The USA Today Network of Louisiana reports. The plan will for the first appropriation of $438 million then will be sent to the feds for approval. That money will be allocated to 4,000 homeowners who are low- to moderate-income victims, elderly or disabled and don’t have flood insurance. The money could reach those homeowners by April or May. Other homeowners will likely have to wait until after April to receive grants from the second appropriation of $1.2 billion, of which there will be fewer restrictions. No grants will be provided to victims who had flood insurance. Read the full story. 

    Shipping it out: The United States will become a net exporter of energy within the next 15 years under most scenarios examined by the U.S. Department of Energy, reports. The department’s Annual Energy Outlook 2017, released Thursday, presents updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2050 based on eight scenarios. The report is the first time that the department has published projections through 2050. In most of the scenarios, however, U.S. production declines in the 2030s, which slows or reverses projected growth in net energy exports. According to the report, petroleum liquid imports will likely fall and natural gas exports should rise. The country’s rich shale fields and technological advances will combine to produce oil and gas at lower prices. If oil prices also rise, oil companies will boost production even as the high prices tamp down domestic consumption, “enabling the most rapid transition to net exporter status,” the report says. Read the full story. 

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