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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Governors band together on PFOA; Constitution delays

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 JOINS WITH VERMONT AND NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNORS TO PRESSURE EPA — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has joined with the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont to ask the federal Environmental Protection Agency to issue new guidelines for safe PFOA levels in drinking water. Cuomo, Vermont Gov. Shumlin and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan want the EPA to review the best “available” science on perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, to release a proper safety level. They also called on the Obama administration to fully fund the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water Revolving Fund to provide money for communities facing drinking water concerns. http://politi.co/1XgsjWG

--The Hoosick Falls water crisis made an appearance on The Daily Show last night. http://bit.ly/1WddjbS

CONSTITUTION PIPELINE DELAYS CONSTRUCTION — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Developers of the Constitution Pipeline announced Thursday that they have pushed back its anticipated start date by six months because of delays from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The Constitution pipeline now anticipates an in-service date in the second quarter of 2017, though that depends on state approvals. The state DEC has not made a final decision on a water quality certificate that the pipeline needs for final approval. http://politi.co/1P2pPp1

CON ED HOPES TO LOWER ENERGY BILLS — The New York Times’ Diane Cardwell: “Con Edison, a public utility that traces its roots to the 19th century, is trying to modernize its relationship with customers, aiming to make interactions with them as smooth as ones they would have with Amazon or Uber. A result, it hopes, will be lower energy bills. Under the effort, about 270,000 New York customers in Brooklyn and Westchester County will start receiving personalized reports about their energy use with recommendations on specific energy-related products — like a smart thermostat or rooftop solar system — that they can install to lower their bills.” http://nyti.ms/1YDeZwX

NY SENATORS ASK FERC TO REJECT NED PIPELINE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: New York’s U.S. senators are asking federal regulators to reject a $5 billion natural gas pipeline that would cross through New York. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter Wednesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urging them to reject the permit application for the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, which would run 400 miles from Pennsylvania to New England. The senators said the pipeline would force New Yorkers to bear all the risks of the pipeline while receiving none of its benefits. They also argued that there is no compelling economic need for the pipeline. http://politi.co/1RTuI88

** 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:

--A new reward has been offered for information on the mysterious drowning death of a state Department of Environmental Conservation officer and his wife in 1981. http://bit.ly/1pj6JXh

--Anti-fracking activist and “Gasland” director Josh Fox says a new gas-fired power plant could put New York City “underwater” by contributing to climate change. http://bit.ly/1U5CrDt

--Plug Power, the Albany fuel cell maker, had a $25 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2015. http://bit.ly/24TF27n

--Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz wants to ban plastic bags in Erie County. http://bit.ly/1XgzTAJ

GOOD FRIDAY 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

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO CRACK DOWN ON METHANE FROM FRACKING — Bloomberg’s Jennifer Dlouhy: “The Obama administration’s decision to crack down on the methane leaking from nearly 1 million oil and gas wells across the country promises to reduce greenhouse gases but also imposes new costs on an industry that’s already reeling. The administration’s plan, unveiled during Thursday’s summit between President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, targets reductions of a potent greenhouse gas that pound for pound is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere when measured over two decades.” http://bloom.bg/1YDcISv

WHY FUKUSHIMA WILL TAKE YEARS TO CLEAN UP — NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel: “Five years after an earthquake and tsunami caused a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, there are signs of progress. Many workers cleaning up the ruined plant no longer need to suit up in full respirators. Some nearby villages that were evacuated are open to residents. But there are still plenty of problems. "Fukushima Dai-ichi is a complicated clean-up site," says Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission who now consults for the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, which owns the plant.” http://n.pr/1LV29bt

SOLAR’S REAL POWER — Vox’s David Roberts: “When people think of solar power, they tend to think of panels on rooftops. That kind of small-scale, distributed solar power is the most visible, gets the most press, and, from the consumer perspective, has the most sex appeal. But the humble workhorse of solar power is the utility-scale solar power plant, usually defined as a solar array larger than 5 megawatts. Solar power plants can consist in either PV panels or mirrors that focus sunlight on a fluid that boils and turns a turbine ("concentrating solar power," or CSP). In practice, most new solar plants these days use PV, which has gotten so cheap so fast that it's outcompeted CSP and every other solar segment, at least for now.” http://bit.ly/1QOT2Wl

PENNSYLVANIA FAMILIES WIN $4.2 MILLION IN FRACKING LAWSUIT — Reuters’ David Dekok: “A federal jury ruled on Thursday that Cabot Oil & Gas Co must pay more than $4.2 million in damages to two families in northeastern Pennsylvania who said the company’s fracking operations contaminated their groundwater. Six jurors in federal court in Scranton awarded $1.3 million each to Scott Ely and Monica Marta-Ely, a married couple in Dimock. Each of their three children received an award of $50,000. A second couple, Ray and Victoria Hubert, also of Dimock, about 32 miles (50 km) south of Binghamton, New York, each received $720,000, and their daughter Hope was awarded $50,000.” http://reut.rs/21lfETt

TRANSCANADA IN TAKEOVER TALKS — The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Dummett, Dana Cimilluca and Dana Mattioli: “TransCanada Corp., the company behind the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project, is in takeover talks with Columbia Pipeline Group Inc., a U.S. natural-gas pipeline operator with a market value of about $8 billion. The companies could reach a deal in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. Details of the possible dea l— including the role of Columbia Pipeline Partners LP, a publicly traded affiliate of Columbia Pipeline Group — couldn’t be learned.” http://on.wsj.com/1R9soNp

ENERGY EFFICIENCY GOALS IN DANGER — The Safe Climate Campaign’s Daniel Becker and James Gerstenzang for the New York Times: “The Obama administration’s stringent fuel efficiency standards are intended to reduce auto pollution and drive up gas mileage. They are the biggest single step any nation has taken to fight global warming. The rules worked well, at first. They no longer do. They can be fixed.The repairs are all the more important since the Supreme Court last month put a hold on the administration’s plan to limit pollution from coal-fired power plants.” http://nyti.ms/1pbHJ3m

FUTURES:

“Oil prices fell Thursday as expectations ebbed that major producers would agree on an output freeze,” Nicole Friedman writes in the Wall Street Journal. http://on.wsj.com/1QQtBDZ

** 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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