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Thu., Dec. 15, 2011

Trade mission gives Idaho business a boost

BOISE – Idaho’s delegation has returned from a trade mission to Mexico and Brazil and reports “tremendous interest and opportunities in both countries for Idaho products and services,” said Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who led the mission.

Seventeen Idaho businesses or organizations participated. Mountain States Oilseeds, of American Falls, reported it secured agreements for five more semitruck loads of mustard seed to be exported to Mexico. Post Falls-based Ground Force Manufacturing reported a $1 million sale and additional likely sales over the next two years of up to $12 million from contacts made on the trade mission.

The trade mission was organized by the state departments of commerce and agriculture. Idaho’s next trade mission will be to China in April 2012.

Betsy Z. Russell

State ordered to increase Medicaid payments

BOISE – A federal judge has ordered Idaho to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for businesses that provide residential care to developmentally disabled residents. The ruling could cost the state $4 million.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill made the ruling Monday. The decision came after five residential habilitation companies sued the state in 2009, contending the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was using reimbursement rates calculated in 2006, even though the department’s own subsequent studies showed that the cost of providing services had increased considerably.

According to the lawsuit, the 2006 daily rate for one type of service was $268 – compared to the daily rate of $496 suggested by the department’s study. But lawmakers failed to give the department funding for the increase.

Associated Press

Government auctions offshore oil leases

NEW ORLEANS – The federal government’s first auction of offshore petroleum leases in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010 drew $337.7 million in winning bids Wednesday.

Petroleum explorers bid on 191 tracts in the western Gulf off the coast of Texas. Twenty companies offered 241 bids totaling $712.7 million.

ConocoPhillips submitted the largest bid, agreeing to pay for $103.2 million for a deep-water tract.

The government plans to auction tracts in the central Gulf of Mexico – off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama – in July for the first time since BP’s Macondo spill in the Gulf.

ConocoPhillips submitted the greatest number of high bids, totaling $157.8 million, followed by Exxon Mobil Corp. with $63.3 million. BP also was an active player with $27.5 million in winning bids.

Associated Press

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