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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Cuomo officials blame EPA for slow sburgh response; National Grid wish list

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! Only POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive an enhanced version of this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York energy policy news throughout the day, please contact us at newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access. Thank you for reading.

CUOMO OFFICIALS BLAME EPA FOR SLOW RESPONSE IN SBURGH — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: State officials said Friday they did not test water in sburgh for the toxic chemical PFOA in 2014, even though a state employee privately raised the possibility of its presence in the water supply, because it was not on federal regulation lists. POLITICO New York reported Friday that a Department of Health staff member suspected PFOA was being used at Taconic Plastics in sburgh and emailed her concerns to three other officials in late 2014. Tests conducted more than a year later showed levels of PFOA — which has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer and thyroid problems — in the town water supply that are just below the federal warning levels. The state is now helping distribute bottled water throughout the town. http://politi.co/1QFkODL

--A plastics company in sburgh first alerted the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2005 about its discovery of a toxic chemical in the groundwater around its plant on Route 22. http://bit.ly/1oRjIPx

NATIONAL GRID’S WISH LIST — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “National Grid is asking for more than just a 22 percent increase in rates starting next year to bring in $140.3 million. In thousands of pages of documents filed with the state Public Service Commission, National Grid makes its case for the 22 percent hike in the delivery charge, which documents indicate will increase average residential bills about $15.68 a month. The first public meeting on the filing, a technical conference for interested parties in the case, takes place in Albany on Monday. In addition, the documents lay out a shopping list of National Grid’s requests.” http://nwsdy.li/1TIO9m9

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York's carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York's nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Learn more at NuclearMatters.com. **

INDIAN POINT LEAK ANOTHER BLOW TO NUCLEAR — Fortune’s David Z. Morris: “New York could be the next Fukushima as world governments roll back nuclear power. The Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York State is leaking radioactive contaminant into nearby groundwater, and despite plant operator Entergy’s assurances that the leak has ‘no health or safety consequences,’ Governor Andrew Cuomo called earlier this month for a full investigation by state environment and health officials. The latest revelations add to a mounting list of recent accidents and problems at Indian Point, and Cuomo’s hard stance is nothing new, either. As of November of last year, Cuomo’s office actively opposed the continuing operation of Indian Point. The plant’s problems are not isolated — leaks have been found at as many as 75% of U.S. nuclear plants.” http://for.tn/1TIPQjy

INDIAN POINT PIPELINE RAISING FRESH WORRIES — The New York Times’ Lisa Foderaro: “Every so often, catastrophes prompt fresh worries about the Indian Point nuclear power plant, whose twin domes loom over the Hudson River about 45 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. In 2001, the terror attacks on Sept. 11 spurred calls to shut down the two reactors here, amid concern of a similar attack on the plant. Five years ago, the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan raised fears about the impact of a natural disaster on Indian Point. Now, a construction project — the planned expansion of a natural gas pipeline across Indian Point property — is again putting the power plant in a harsh glare.” http://nyti.ms/1VMdz1s

AROUND NEW YORK:

--NY1’s Bob Hardt looks at Cuomo’s avoidance of Hoosick Falls. http://bit.ly/24vOvl0

--The Cuomo administration is struggling with a decision that would grant a Wisconsin city the right to withdraw water from Lake Michigan because it could set a precedent over a compact designed to protect the quality and quantity of the world’s largest fresh water supply. http://bit.ly/1KVUgCg

--Oil train inspectors report that after examining 215 crude oil tank cars, 190 miles of track and 26 switches, they found four critical defects and 16 others in the latest round of New York inspections. http://bit.ly/1TgjL47

--Dredging operations on the upper Hudson River are winding down after six years and $1.5 billion but some advocates are pushing for another round. http://bit.ly/1QehbHP

GOOD MONDAY MORNING: Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and swaldman@politico.com. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB

BUFFETT: WIND AND SOLAR CHANGING UTILITIES — Daily News’s Daniel McDonald: “Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said subsidized wind and solar power in the U.S. may erode the economics of electric utilities that care little for efficiency. 'The joke in the industry was that a utility was the only business that would automatically earn more money by redecorating the boss’s office,' Buffett wrote Saturday in his annual letter to shareholders. 'Some utilities ran things accordingly. That’s all changing.' Utilities across the country have been grappling with how to integrate wind farms and solar plants into their systems and business models. Cheap power from large-scale renewables has undercut the profitability of conventional electricity generation from coal and nuclear sources. In addition, rooftop solar panels have sapped sales for power distribution companies.” http://bit.ly/1TIOzsN

MARKEY TO KEYNOTE BOSTON WIND CONFERENCE — The Associated Press: “Offshore wind power will be the focus of a gathering of business leaders and lawmakers in Boston this week. The U.S. Offshore Wind Leadership Conference kicks off [Monday] and runs through [Tuesday] at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston. U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, is the event’s keynote speaker. Topics will include Europe’s experience with wind energy and the U.S.’s emerging industry in states like New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.”

WASHINGTON STATE WEIGHS CARBON TAX — The AP’s Phuong Le: "Washington could become the first state in the nation to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline and natural gas. A ballot measure before the state Legislature would create a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton of fossil fuel emissions burned in Washington, while reducing taxes. Lawmakers have until the end of the session on March 10 to enact Initiative 732, offer an alternative proposal or automatically pass the carbon-tax measure to voters in November as written. It’s not clear whether lawmakers will approve an alternative by the end of the session." http://wapo.st/1TIQcXg

SCIENTISTS PROTEST CUTS AT AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE CENTER — The New York Times’ Michelle Innis: “Perched on a wild, windy promontory on the rugged tip of northwestern Tasmania, the tiny Cape Grim research station has been measuring airborne greenhouse gases since 1976. It is one of a handful of such stations in the world, and because the wind that reaches it has traveled more than 6,600 miles across the southern oceans, uncontaminated by cities or factories, the measurements are considered a baseline for tracking changes in the earth’s atmosphere. Now a decision by Australia’s science agency to lay off 350 researchers and shift the organization’s focus to more commercial enterprise threatens not only the work done at the station but also climate studies around the globe.” http://nyti.ms/1oRkAnb

AUTOMATIC AUTOS COULD INCREASE EMISSIONS — Vox’s David Roberts: “It stands to reason that vehicle automation could save energy and reduce emissions in some ways. Cars will be able to chain together more aerodynamically, drive at more consistent speeds, and perhaps serve as shared vehicles in lieu of individual vehicle ownership. But it also stands to reason that automation could increase energy use and emissions in some ways. If driving is easier and more pleasant, people will do it more. Automation will open up car travel to populations (the young, the elderly, the visually or otherwise impaired) who did not previously have access. Self-driving cars could increase the overall amount of vehicle miles traveled.” http://bit.ly/1Rv7hC5

EMAILS GIVE GLIMPSE INTO FLINT HANDLING — The Detroit News’ Chad Livengood: “Two top advisers to Gov. Rick Snyder urged switching Flint back to Detroit’s water system in October 2014 after General Motors Co. said the city’s heavily chlorinated river water was rusting engine parts, according to governor’s office emails examined by The Detroit News. Valerie Brader, then Snyder’s environmental policy adviser, requested that the governor’s office ask Flint’s emergency manager to return to Detroit’s system on Oct. 14, 2014, three weeks before Snyder’s re-election. Mike Gadola, then the governor’s chief legal counsel, agreed Flint should be switched back to Detroit water nearly a year before state officials relented to public pressure and independent research showing elevated levels of lead in the water and bloodstreams of Flint residents.” http://detne.ws/20ZejkU

STORING CRUDE IN OIL TRAINS — The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman and Bob Tita: “The U.S. market is so oversupplied with oil that traders are experimenting with a new place for storing excess crude: empty railcars. There are plenty to choose from: Thousands of railcars ordered up to transport oil now sit idle because current ultralow crude prices have made shipping by train unprofitable. Meanwhile, traditional storage tanks are filling up as U.S. oil inventories swell to their highest level since the 1930s. Some industry participants are calling the new practice ‘rolling storage’ — a landlocked spin on the “floating storage” producers use to hold crude on giant oil tankers when inventories run high.” http://on.wsj.com/1LnATSo

STOCKS ROSE ON OIL — The Wall Street Journal: “U.S. stocks posted their second consecutive week of gains, buoyed by the recent rise in oil prices. But in a sign of the fragility of the rally, stocks slipped on Friday, signaling the market has yet to shake worries about corporate profits, economic growth and the trajectory of interest rates.” http://on.wsj.com/1VMd5s2

FUTURES:

--Oil settled lower Friday but was up on the week, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Light, sweet crude for April delivery settled down 29 cents, or 0.9%, at $32.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting a one-month intraday high earlier in the session. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 19 cents, or 0.5%, to $35.10 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, after hitting the highest intraday level since early January." http://on.wsj.com/1VMddHT

--Natural gas settled higher Friday after hitting a 17-year low, but continued oversupply and weak demand continues to depress proces.

“Natural gas futures for April delivery settled up 0.6 cent, or 0.3%, to $1.791 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 4.1% this week. Prices fell to their lowest level since 1999 on Thursday as the contract for March delivery expired.” http://on.wsj.com/1VMdoTA

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America's existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America's carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state's electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York's state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at NuclearMatters.com. **

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