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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Frack waste crackdown; utility storage

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.

STATE CRACKS DOWN ON FRACKING WASTE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: New Cuomo administration regulations would enact some of the strongest regulations to date on the fracking waste now being dumped in New York. This week, the state unveiled new proposed regulations for solid waste disposal that will cover the disposal of fracking waste as well as solid waste, facilities that handle recyclable materials, waste transfer stations, landfills and biohazard waste facilities, as well as compost facilities. http://politi.co/21ELTTb

CON ED, NYSEG ISSUE STORAGE RFPs — Utility Dive: “New York State Electric & Gas and Consolidated Edison have each released requests for proposals which focus on non-wire alternatives (NWAs) like energy storage and other distributed resource projects rather than transmission and centralized generation facilities to meet growing demand. Con Edison and Orange & Rockland have released a general proposal, seeking to test the ‘central hypothesis’ that companies can make money through storage. The utilities are seeking proposals for at least 4 MWh of storage.” http://bit.ly/21EKzzr

SCHOOLS SUE LIPA — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: "Two Long Island schools have filed suit against LIPA, PSEG and the state Department of Public Service, charging the utility engaged in a ‘pattern’ of misclassifying customers in the wrong rate class and failing to refund years of overbilling." http://nwsdy.li/1oQt7Gp

CITY’S SELECT BUS SERVICE DOUBLES IN PRICE — POLITICO New York’s Dana Rubinstein: “Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans to build the city's most ambitious fast bus service in southeastern Queens have grown a good deal more expensive than anticipated. The project once was estimated to cost $200 million but now is expected to cost $400 million, according to Polly Trottenberg, de Blasio's transportation commissioner, who testified on Wednesday before the New York City Council.” http://politi.co/21EL2BU

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing 61 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity, New York’s nuclear energy plants are a necessary and valuable part of the state’s energy mix, and deserve the support of state lawmakers for their role in providing New York with reliable electricity while protecting the environment. Learn more: NuclearMatters.com. **

AROUND NEW YORK:

--ICYMI, the Buffalo News took a thorough look at the SolarCity layoffs and the state’s lack of payments. http://bit.ly/1UyIoZ1

--Green groups once again called on Gov. Cuomo to reject the Constitution pipeline. http://bit.ly/1TTBtJk

--More than a dozen cars on a train carrying ethanol derailed in Western New York and some spilled their contents, but no one was hurt. http://bit.ly/1Y2RPzJ

--The state’s ESCO crackdown begins Friday and the Albany Times Union reports the retail power industry is freaking out. http://bit.ly/1TTHq99

--A herd of white deer in upstate New York still face an uncertain future as the land on which they reside is up for sale. http://lohud.us/1TRsWHS

--A New York Post takedown of the Columbia Journalism School’s investigation into ExxonMobil. http://nyp.st/21GJ7sZ

--The sburgh plastics plant tested for record high levels of PFOA more than a decade ago. http://bit.ly/1oQhLCe

--Strong winds upstate knocked down a number of power lines. http://bit.ly/1oZQzBU

--Brooklyn startup uses blockchain technology to facilitate buying alternative power. http://bit.ly/1oQsgWj

GOOD THURSDAY 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

FRACKING GIANT DIES IN FIERY WRECK DAY AFTER INDICTMENT — The Wall Street Journal’s Miguel Bustillo and Lynn Cook: “Aubrey McClendon, one of the pioneers of the U.S. shale boom, died in a fiery single-vehicle crash on Wednesday, a day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring with an unnamed company to rig the price of oil and gas leases in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City police said in a news conference Wednesday that Mr. McClendon, the former chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp., was found dead after driving into a wall at speeds well in excess of the 40 mile-per-hour limit for the area Wednesday morning. He was 56 years old.” http://on.wsj.com/1po0zVv

MORE SOLAR POISED FOR 2016 — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “New statistics just released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggest that in the coming year, the booming solar sector will add more new electricity-generating capacity than any other — including natural gas and wind. EIA reports that planned installations for 2016 include 9.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar — followed by 8 gigawatts (or 8 billion watts) of natural gas and 6.8 gigawatts of wind.” http://wapo.st/1TRspps

OREGON PASSES ‘PIONEERING’ CLIMATE LEGISLATION — By Kristana Hansen of the Associated Press: "Oregon lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to pioneering legislation that will eliminate coal from the state’s energy supply by 2030 and provide half of customers’ power with renewable sources by 2040. The measure passed by the Oregon Senate underscores a leadership role on environmental issues the state has staked out over the years. The state House of Representatives approved the bill Tuesday." http://wapo.st/21EJfN7

CLIMATE CHANGE BRINGING MORE POISONOUS SNAKES NORTH — InsideClimate News’ Sheila Kumar: “Forget the spread of ticks and mosquitos. Climate change could be responsible for bigger bites by drawing poisonous snakes northward into a band along the U.S. and Canadian border, as well as southward into wide swaths of South America. Using models to predict the ranges of 78 venomous snake species across the Americas, researchers at the University of Kansas' Biodiversity Institute found snakebite risk areas could increase significantly. By 2050, they could reach as far north as Alberta and Quebec and southward into Argentina and Chile.” http://bit.ly/1QMs3da

--Also bringing food scarcity: The Washington Post’s Chelsea Harvey reports, “The effects of climate change on food production around the world could lead to more than 500,000 deaths by the year 2050, according to a grim new study. Climate-related impacts on agriculture could lead to an overall global decline in food availability, the research suggests, forcing people to eat fewer fruits and vegetables and less meat. And the public health impacts of these changes could be severe.” http://wapo.st/21EJJCO

ARCTIC SEA ICE AT RECORD LOWS — The Washington Post's Chris Mooney: "Arctic sea ice was at a record low level for its average extent in January, according to the center — over a million square kilometers smaller than the average ice extent seen from 1981 to 2010. And now, February has set another record monthly low, the center announced Wednesday. 'Arctic sea ice was at a satellite-record low for the second month in a row,' it noted." http://wapo.st/1oQuCVf

EXPORTS, OIL HURTING MANUFACTURERS — The Associated Press: "The economy was expanding in most of the country in January and February, helped by gains in consumer spending and home sales. But there were also rising headwinds from falling oil prices and a strong dollar that held back some sectors, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. The Fed's latest survey of business conditions in its 12 regions found moderate gains in most regions. Two areas — New York and Dallas — described activity as flat. Kansas City, a region hurt by weakness in energy and farming, reported a modest decline." http://nyti.ms/1oQtYXN

NIGERIAN COMMUNITIES SUE SHELL IN LONDON — The New York TImes’ Stanley Reed: “Nigerian communities from the oil-rich Niger Delta initiated court action on Wednesday in London against the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, in a case that may have far-reaching implications for whether companies can be sued in Britain for pollution and damages caused by their activities in other countries.” http://nyti.ms/21EHCiw

RUSSIA EASING OFF OIL PRODUCTION — Bloomberg: “Russian crude and condensate output edged lower in February from a record the previous month amid talks with Saudi Arabia and other exporters about a production freeze. Oil production fell 0.2 percent to 10.885 million barrels a day from January, according to data e-mailed from the Russian Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit. That was a 2.1 percent increase from a year earlier.” http://bloom.bg/1oQuOnn

A NEW LOOK AT ANCIENT MARS — The New Yorker’s Marcia Bjornerud: "The actual story of Mars is weirder, grander, and in some ways more terrifying than any of the fictions that humans have spun. Although the planet has a diameter about six-tenths that of Earth and weighs in at only eleven per cent of Earth’s mass, it is in other ways a place of extremes. Its entire top seems to have been blown off in an early impact, resulting in a so-called crustal dichotomy: Mars’s northern hemisphere is at an average elevation one and a half miles lower than the southern." http://bit.ly/1Lz7zZg

FUTURES:

--Oil settles up after a volatile day, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The benchmark U.S. crude contract rose 0.8% to settle at $34.66 a barrel, and the global Brent benchmark rose 0.3% to $36.93 a barrel. It was the third straight gaining session for both contracts. U.S. prices fell as much as 2% immediately after the release of the U.S. data but quickly recovered and then wavered between gains and losses throughout the day." http://on.wsj.com/21EMF2k

--Natural gas still sliding: The end of an already warm winter depressed prices further, the Journal reports.

“Natural gas futures ended down 3.7% at $1.6780 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, their lowest level since Feb. 26, 1999. The market has fallen nearly 32% since early January amid robust production and weak demand as an El Niño-warmed winter has kept heating demand in check. Natural gas is a fuel source in heating more than half of U.S. homes.” http://on.wsj.com/21ENEj8

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: New York’s existing nuclear energy plants provide 61 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity and play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. Additional premature retirements of safe, reliable nuclear energy plants mean New Yorkers would pay more for electricity, the economy would suffer and we would face substantially higher carbon emissions.

New York has taken an essential step forward to address the premature closures of our nuclear energy plants. The proposed development of a Clean Energy Standard by the Public Service Commission would, for the first time, ensure that existing nuclear plants are valued for their carbon-free attributes.

We urge the state to include all of New York’s existing nuclear energy plants, regardless of their geography in the state, in the proposed Clean Energy Standard. All nuclear energy facilities bring significant reliability and clean-air benefits to New York. Learn more: NuclearMatters.com. **

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