By Marie J. French and David Giambusso | 04/19/2017 09:59 AM EDT

IMPROVING AIR QUALITY — POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: Air pollution in New York's counties continues to improve but the American Lung Association is sounding the alarm about federal and state policies that could reverse the trend and increase health risks. The group's 2017 annual report on air quality released Wednesday shows one-third of New York residents still live in counties with an unhealthy number of high ozone days, mostly in the New York City area. Ozone pollution is linked to difficulty breathing, respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, aggravation of conditions such as asthma and premature death. "It's unhealthy to breathe that much pollution," said Janice Nolen, the assistant vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association. "It isn't something that has to happen on a daily basis, having too many bad air days can be dangerous." Suffolk, Bronx, Queens, Richmond and Westchester counties all had failing grades for ozone pollution between 2013 and 2015. All counties which monitor air particle pollution in New York had zero days of spikes and overall low levels, earning "A" grades. Most counties saw improved air quality, with fewer days of ozone pollution compared to last year's report. Read more here.

CUOMO OFFICIALS TOUR SHOREHAM SOLAR SITE — Newsday's Mark Harrington: "A proposal by local and state lawmakers to preserve 800 wooded acres around the shuttered Shoreham nuclear plant from development as a solar farm got a potential boost Tuesday as officials of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration toured the site on a fact-finding mission. The tour came as local officials continued their efforts to preserve the site as a state park, which would require state preservation funds. They also are pursuing an effort to designate it part of the core pine barrens, to spare it from development." Read more here.

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— Coal towns in New York are getting state help to make the transition off of revenue from coal-fired plants.

— The state Department of Environmental Conservation this year is anticipating an "above average" spring wild turkey hunting season.

— Cuomo urged President Donald Trump to address Canadian dairy trade policies that could harm New York exports.

— Potential habitat fragmentation and wildlife displacement or reduction have prompted the Thousand Islands Land Trust to announce its opposition toward Avangrid Renewables's Horse Creek Wind Farm and any other projects proposed in the St. Lawrence River Valley.

— SAVE THE OSPREY: PSEG workers safely moved an osprey nest that was in danger of catching fire in Port Washington on Monday.

— EDITORIAL: Newsday urges action to rid products and Long Island's water of likely carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.

** A message from the Independent Power Producers of New York: Meet Cheryl LaFleur, Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, at IPPNY's 31st Annual Spring Conference on May 9 & 10 at the brand new Albany Capital Center in downtown Albany! It's never too late to register or sign up as a sponsor! Check out our sponsorship opportunities! **

CAPACITY MARKET CONSIDERATIONS — UtilityDive's Gavin Bade: "Recent upheavals in wholesale electricity markets are giving new life to a years-old debate about market structure as the nation shifts to a cleaner energy mix. 'The big debate out there,' said Gordon van Welie, CEO of ISO-New England, 'is can you do it the way Texas is doing, which is an energy-only market? Or do you need a capacity market?'" Read more here.

EPA ASKS FOR DELAY OF MERCURY RULE — POLITICO's Alex Guillén: EPA today asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to postpone next month's oral arguments over a key part of the Obama administration's power plant mercury rule. If the court grants the request, it would open an easier path for the Trump administration to review and potentially revise or repeal the regulation. Read more here.

BIG OIL EMBRACES TECH — Bloomberg's David Wethe: "The nodding donkey was invented nearly a century ago, and it's still hard at work in the oil patch, virtually unchanged, pumping oil out of the ground. There's been a recent innovation, though: Algorithms adjust the extraction flow based on computer monitoring hundreds of feet below." Read more here.

OUTSOURCING REGULATIONS — POLITICO's Annie Snider: Industry groups with close ties to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are considering a highly unusual approach to undoing the Obama administration's most controversial water regulation — pushing him to hand the job to private lawyers. Such an approach would help Pruitt bypass the Environmental Protection Agency employees who spent five years writing the Waters of the U.S. regulation — the kinds of career federal bureaucrats whom supporters of President Donald Trump often deride as the "deep state." Read more here.

PRUITT HEADS TO INDIANA — E&E News' Amanda Reilly: "U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's 'Back-to-Basics' tour will touch down (today) in East Chicago, Ind., an industrial city in the throes of a lead-contamination crisis. As EPA's budget is slashed and more work is handed to state agencies, environmentalists and community activists in East Chicago are worried about the Trump administration turning its back on environmental justice." Read more here.

MAINE WIND FIGHT — Maine Public Radio's A.J. Higgins: "An ongoing dispute over a planned 12-megawatt floating offshore wind operation off Monhegan Island has now taken stage before the Maine Legislature." Read more here.

GEOENGINEERING DILEMMA — New York Times Magazine's Jon Gertner: "For the past few years, the Harvard professor David Keith has been sketching this vision: Ten Gulfstream jets, outfitted with special engines that allow them to fly safely around the stratosphere at an altitude of 70,000 feet, take off from a runway near the Equator. Their cargo includes thousands of pounds of a chemical compound — liquid sulfur, let's suppose — that can be sprayed as a gas from the aircraft... The payoff? A slowing of the earth's warming — for as long as the Gulfstream flights continue." Read more here.

LA COUNTY WEIGHS COMMUNITY CHOICE — The Los Angeles Times' Ivan Penn and Nina Agrawal: "Southern California Edison customers in Los Angeles County soon will have a new way to get their electricity under a plan approved Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors to lower bills and increase clean energy use." Read more here.

BEHOLD THE NIGHTMARE SHIPWORM — The New York Times' Joanna Klein: "Behold, the giant shipworm, your newest living nightmare. In a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Daniel Distel, a microbiologist at Northeastern University, and colleagues described a live one for first time." Read more here.

RECIPES FOR THE APOCALYPSE — Newsweek: "Allie Wist, an artist who works for Saveur magazine, re-imagined what our food would look like in a world ravaged by climate change in a project titled 'Flooded.'" Read more here.

BOMB TRAINS TO END HUMP YARDS — The Wall Street Journal's Paul Ziobro: "Barely a month into his job leading CSX Corp., Hunter Harrison is already executing some signature moves from his railroad-turnaround playbook. First among them: doing away with hump yards, longtime fixtures of rail operators where long trains are broken down into individual cars by pushing them over a hill, then letting gravity send them down different tracks." Read more here.


— Oil took another hit Tuesday as more oil floods the market, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled down 24 cents, or 0.5%, at $52.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after swinging between gains and losses throughout the session."

— Natural gas was down once again amid continued tepid demand, the Journal reports.

"Futures for May delivery settled down 1.8 cents, or 0.6%, to $3.145 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since April 3. Prices traded as high as $3.182/mmBtu earlier in the session."

** A message from the Independent Power Producers of New York: We are just three weeks away from IPPNY's 31st Annual Spring Conference, Responding to Emerging Energy Policy. Join IPPNY as we hear updates from Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Senator Joseph Griffo, Chairs of their respective Energy Committees, on the state of energy in New York. Also hear from New York's Chariman of Energy & Finance Richard Kauffman. IPPNY conferences offer excellent opportunities to speak directly to decision makers in New York's energy industry. Be part of this year's conference and benefit from networking opportunities and productive dialogue on how to best achieve our mutual energy goals! IPPNY conferences regularly attract more than 150 energy industry executives, policy makers and members of the financial and legal communities. To make sure you are part of the discussion, Register Today! **

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