By David Giambusso and Marie J. French | 05/17/2017 09:56 AM EDT
WIND LOBBY PRESSES ON AMID SUITS — POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: Lawsuits challenging the federal government's lease of large swaths of ocean off the coast of New York and New Jersey have not dampened enthusiasm for wind development projects in the region. POLITICO reported earlier this week that several cities and fishery associations in New England, New York and New Jersey are challenging the legality of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's process for awarding leases for offshore wind farms, arguing that the agency violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to adequately consider the effects of the lease on their businesses or to consider alternative sites. If the suits are successful, wind advocates acknowledge, they could delay implementation of a clean energy agenda that has accelerated in recent years with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's commitment to develop 2,400 megawatts of wind off the coast of Long Island and increasing attention from European energy companies. Read more here.
THE NUCLEAR DILEMMA — NPR's Marie Cusick: "Just like coal companies, America's nuclear power industry is having a tough time. It faces slowing demand for electricity, and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables. And now, touting itself as a form of clean energy, the nuclear industry is lobbying state legislatures with a controversial pitch for help. 'Nobody's in the mood for a bailout,' says anti-nuclear activist Eric Epstein [who] has been a nuclear watchdog since 1979, when one of the reactors at the nearby Three Mile Island plant partially melted down, bringing the industry's growth in the U.S. to a standstill. Four decades later, Epstein says nuclear power is just too expensive, and he doesn't want his state to do what New York and Illinois already have. Both states recently agreed to give billions in subsidies to the nuclear industry by essentially broadening the definition of clean power. Supporters say the move will help combat climate change, since nuclear plants don't emit carbon. ... Around the country, five nuclear plants have retired in the past five years, and another five are scheduled to close within a decade. In Pennsylvania, the Three Mile Island plant — which still has one functioning reactor — is having trouble selling its power because it's more expensive than other sources, like natural gas." Read more here.
'VULNERABLE VOICES' PUSH FOR ROLE IN CLIMATE TALKS — The New York Times' Hiroko Tabuchi : "Developing nations and environmental groups are challenging some of the world's biggest companies and wealthiest countries over the role corporate lobbyists play in United Nations climate change negotiations. The dispute opens an additional battle in the struggle over how to fashion a global response to climate change, one that corporate interests appear to be winning, for now. Though companies are not permitted to participate directly in the climate talks, representatives from almost 300 industry groups are free to roam the negotiations in Bonn, Germany, as 'stakeholders,' and to lobby negotiators on behalf of corporations that may seek to slow action, the developing nations and their allies say." Read more here.
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WESTINGHOUSE NUCLEAR WOE SPREADS TO DUKE — Bloomberg's Chris Martin: "Add Duke Energy Corp. to the list of U.S. utility owners affected by the bankruptcy of nuclear contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. The North Carolina Utilities Commission ordered Duke this week to report on the financial situation of Westinghouse owner Toshiba Corp. and how that may affect the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors it has proposed to install at the planned Lee nuclear station in Cherokee County, South Carolina." Read more here.
AUTO INDUSTRY CUTTING JOBS — The Wall Street Journal's John D. Stoll and Mike Colias: "Amid softening U.S. car sales and mounting investor skepticism about Detroit's ability to weather the industry's first downturn in nearly a decade, auto executives are facing a tough choice in whom to please: Wall Street or the White House." Read more here.
** A message from Upstate Energy Jobs: Thanks to New York's nuclear energy and innovative policies like the Clean Energy Standard, the future is bright for New York. Together they work to keep our air clean, our economy thriving, and our community members employed. Learn more at upstateenergyjobs.com. **
PEOPLE URGE EPA NOT TO POISON THEM — The Washington Post's Brady Dennis: "Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency put out a call for comments about what regulations are in need of repeal, replacement or modification. The effort stemmed from an executive order issued by President Trump earlier this year instructing agencies to reexamine regulations that 'eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation' and/or 'impose costs that exceed benefits.' More than 55,100 responses rolled in by the time the comment period closed on Monday — but they were full of Americans sharing their experiences of growing up with dirty air and water, and with pleas for the agency not to undo safeguards that could return the country to more a more polluted era. 'Know your history or you'll be doomed to repeat it,' one person wrote." Read more here.
ANADARKO TO PERMANENTLY CUT SOME PIPELINES AFTER FATAL EXPLOSION — The Associated Press' Dan Elliot: "The company that owns a gas well linked to a fatal home explosion in Colorado said Tuesday it will permanently disconnect other pipelines in the area like the one blamed in the explosion." Read more here.
SENATE DEMS PRESS PERRY ON FUNDING — POLITICO's Darius Dixon: "More than two dozen Senate Democrats are pressing Energy Secretary Rick Perry in a letter released today to explain DOE's move to withhold or slow the rollout of funds approved by Congress before the Trump administration took office." Read more here.
MCAULIFFE PROPOSES CARBON CAP FOR VA — The Washington Post's Patricia Sullivan: "Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) ordered state officials Tuesday to create regulations that will reduce carbon emissions from power plants and emphasize clean energy sources such as solar, a plan similar to the federal policy that President Trump has threatened to rescind." Read more here.
GOD IN THE WEEDS — The Associated Press: "Religious beliefs involving the use of pesticides are part of a dispute over noxious weeds on a 2,000-acre organic farm in Oregon that has attracted the attention of organic food supporters. Sherman County may order the owners of Azure Farms, near Moro, to spray to control the weeds if the farm doesn't come up with a weed management plan by next week. The county said in a letter it also might do the spraying itself then bill the farm owned by Ecclesia of Sinai. The farm, which is operated by a major supplier of organic products called Azure Standard, would lose its organic certification if herbicides are applied... The company has also cited religious beliefs for refusing to spray, including a biblical passage stating that the land should not be defiled." Read more here.
SEE YOU LATER ... CROCODILE — The Miami Herald's Jenny Staletovich: "More than 14 years after it mysteriously appeared in the remote islands of the Dry Tortugas National Park, a solitary crocodile dubbed the loneliest in the world is gone." Read more here.
MERKEL: GERMANY WON'T MEET EV TARGET — Bloomberg New Energy Finance: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that a plan to have 1 million electric cars on the country's roads by 2020 won't work out, even as the automakers that make up the nation's biggest manufacturing sector prepare a slew of emissions-free models." Read more here.
SOUTH KOREA'S NEW PRESIDENT IS SHUTTING DOWN COAL — Quartz's Akshat Rathi: "The South Korean capital, Seoul, is among the world's most polluted cities, so it's no surprise that air pollution was one of the key campaign issues for the newly elected president, Moon Jae-in. That's why, on his fifth day in power, Moon has announced that the country will temporarily shutter 10 coal power plants now and will shut them down completely within his five-year term. The move should bring respite from the choking air pollution, but it raises questions about South Korea's energy security." Read more here.
SCOTTISH JUDGES RULE FOR WIND IN BIRD FIGHT — Bloomberg New Energy Finance: "Scottish judges paved the way for as much as [$13 billion] to be invested in offshore wind power by overturning a ruling that said projects may kill too many birds." Read more here.
— Oil slumped after new data showed an increase in stockpiles, Bloomberg reports.
** A message from Upstate Energy Jobs: New York's dedication to critical energy sources such as nuclear energy provides 25,000 New Yorkers with employment and contributes $3 billion to our state's economy. It also puts our state at the center of the movement for carbon-free power. Currently, our states' nuclear energy facilities keep more than 16 million tons of carbon-dioxide out of our air, and in 12 years the total will reach 180 million. Groundbreaking policies like the Clean Energy Standard (CES) are dedicated to utilizing this incredible energy source to allow us to reach the State Energy Plan goal of 40 percent carbon-free energy generation by 2030, while also providing quality jobs in our state - for less than $2 a month. This benefits all New Yorkers. Supporting policies like the CES means building a bright future for New York State's economy, energy demands, environment, and communities. Learn more at upstateenergyjobs.com. **
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