Roundup: Winter weather / Broadband access / ExxonMobil

    ICYMI:  More electricity blackouts are possible before Sunday as record-low temperatures continue to threaten north and central Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday, The Center Square reports. Edwards asked residents to conserve electricity. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Thursday approved Edwards’ request to issue an emergency declaration. About 125,000 Louisianans were without electricity as of noon Thursday, Edwards said. More than 245,000 residents are affected by 98 water-system outages, and almost a million residents are advised to boil their tap water before usage, he said. Read the latest on the winter weather. 

    CARES Act funds: The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will receive a $700,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to increase and improve broadband readiness and internet access throughout the state. The funding is part of $2.7 million in recovery assistance grants awarded to the state from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, according to an announcement from U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s office.   

    ITEP request: The East Baton Rouge Parish school board has signed off on ExxonMobil’s quest for a tax break tied to a possible modernization of its local refinery. The action took place at Thursday night’s board meeting. ExxonMobil was seeking a 10-year abatement worth some $23 million on a proposed $240 million modernization project at the north Baton Rouge refinery that company officials say is critical to the facility’s long-term viability and competitiveness. WBRZ-TV has a full rundown of the meeting.