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POLITICO New York Energy: The future of Hoosick Falls; LIPA's new chief executive

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HOOSICK FALLS? — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: This town knows from hardship. Like many upstate communities, it has seen jobs disappear for generations as factories closed down, one by one, lured away by the promise of cheaper costs or simply shuttered, their products no longer wanted or needed. But when the federal government announced late last year that the town’s water supply was tainted and dangerous to use, it was a blow of a very different sort. The factory closings cost jobs. The poisoned water might cost lives. http://politi.co/1UjaDMG

--Meanwhile, no one connected to a water source that tested positive can drink from their faucet, weeks after filters were installed. http://politi.co/1RxmkIy

FALCONE IS IN, AND OTHER LIPA NEWS — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “LIPA trustees voted to approve the appointment of Tom Falcone as chief executive, disclosed a series of changes to the way PSEG Long Island can receive incentive pay for meeting performance standards and laid out a pathway to the rollout of thousands of smart meters this year. Changes in the way PSEG can earn incentive pay come as the total amount it can earn in the plan this year jumps to $8.7 million, from $5.4 million in 2014 and 2015. At a board meeting on Monday, trustees voted, 7-0, with one abstention to approve Falcone for the top job at LIPA, which pays $275,000. He’ll continue to serve as chief financial officer until a new one is picked.” http://nwsdy.li/1LFmUIm

ELECTRIC CARS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: New York lags behind other so-called "progressive" regions in providing for electric cars, officials say, but a bill introduced in the City Council on Tuesday is seeking to remedy that. The bill would establish a pilot program under the city Department of Transportation to build between two and seven electric vehicle charging stations per borough for on-street parking. The cost of the program has yet to be determined, but Councilman Costa Constantinides, who chairs the Environmental Protection Committee, said the need is exigent. http://politi.co/1WGQopB

AROUND NEW YORK:

--The mayor of Mount Vernon wants to add a gas tax for his city. http://lohud.us/1WGma64

--Ithaca residents are investing in a proposed wind farm in the region, despite no promise of return for a decade. http://bit.ly/1MAtLgM

--An energy grid management software firm outside of Albany was recently sold for $2 million. http://bit.ly/1UDgJXU

--Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state’s missed SolarCity payments were a “foul-up” that won’t happen again. http://bit.ly/1MAwK91

HAPPY WEDNESDAY: 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

HUNTING FOR SOLUTIONS IN AGING NUCLEAR FLEET — The New York Times’ Henry Fountain: “Any shutdowns would be another blow to nuclear energy, which provides 19 percent of the nation’s electricity but has struggled in recent years to compete against subsidized solar and wind power and plants that burn low-priced natural gas. Industry advocates say that by removing sources of clean electricity — a nuclear reaction produces no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases — the closings could affect the government’s ability to fulfill its pledge, made at the Paris climate talks last year, to reduce emissions. And to continue to meet the nation’s electrical load, new generating capacity will have to be built to replace any that is lost.” http://nyti.ms/1Ry3FTd

NUCLEAR PLANT THREATENS FLORIDA WATERS — The New York Times’ Lizette Alvarez: “When Florida’s largest power company added two nuclear reactors to an existing plant that sat between two national parks — Biscayne Bay and the Everglades — the decision raised the concerns of environmentalists and some government officials about the possible effects on water quality and marine life. Now, more than four decades later, Florida Power and Light’s reactors at Turkey Point, built to satisfy the power needs of a booming Miami, are facing their greatest crisis. A recent study commissioned by the county concluded that Turkey Point’s old cooling canal system was leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay.” http://nyti.ms/1RyidCr

ENERGY SECTOR RETIREMENT WEALTH WIPED OUT — Reuters’ Tim McLaughlin and Luc Cohen: “Nearly 15 years since Enron’s collapse decimated the retirement accounts of its employees, hundreds of thousands of U.S. energy workers remain precariously exposed to big, concentrated bets on company stock in their 401(k) retirement plans. The slide in oil prices to their lowest levels in over a decade wiped out several billion dollars of retirement wealth in the energy sector in the past year. The losses may prove temporary for companies that successfully navigate the crisis, but tens of thousands of employees of struggling firms may see much of their nest eggs gone for good.” http://reut.rs/1Mkr6gp

PERILOUS CLIMATE SHIFT COULD COME WITHIN DECADES — The New York Times’ Justin Gillis: “The nations of the world agreed years ago to try to limit global warming to a level they hoped would prove somewhat tolerable. But a group of leading climate scientists warned on Tuesday that permitting a warming of that magnitude would actually be highly dangerous. The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets, and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century, the scientists declared.” http://nyti.ms/25iWnqr

U.S. ASKS JUDGE TO RULE ON BP — The Associated Press: “Federal lawyers on Tuesday formally asked a judge in New Orleans to approve a record-breaking $20 billion-plus settlement agreement announced last July by the Department of Justice and five Gulf Coast states to resolve years of legal fighting about the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The settlement included $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the states and local governments. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier had found BP 'grossly negligent' in the offshore rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused the 134 million gallon spill.” http://wapo.st/1WGSbuS

CLIMATE CHANGE’S EFFECT ON THE WEST — The Associated Press’ Dan Elliott: “Climate change could upset the complex interplay of rain, snow and temperature in the West, hurting food production, the environment and electrical generation at dams, the federal government warned Tuesday. Some areas could get more rain and less snow, reducing the snowmelt flowing into reservoirs in the summer when farmers need it to irrigate, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report said. Higher temperatures would mean more evaporation from reservoirs, particularly in California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins. The delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin provides water for two-thirds of Californians and irrigation for nearly a million acres of farmland.” http://wapo.st/1Ryhn8P

PURCHASE AGREEMENTS SIGNED FOR ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE — The Associated Press: “Purchase agreements have been signed for virtually all of the natural gas that would be delivered to the Southeast by the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the lead energy company behind the $5 billion project said Tuesday. Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy Inc., said the utility agreements reflect the need for the nearly 600-mile energy project delivering fracked natural gas along a route from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina.” http://wapo.st/1RyhCRd

BALTIMORE INCINERATOR’S LAST GASP — Citylab.com: “A years-long, youth-led campaign to prevent the construction of a waste incinerator in the south Baltimore neighborhood of Curtis Bay has inched closer to victory. Last week, the Maryland Department of the Environment alerted the New York-based company Energy Answers International that its permit to build an incinerator that would convert trash into energy is no longer valid. The proposed plant would generate 160 megawatts of electricity by burning an estimated 4,000 tons of solid waste per day. The facility would spread over 90 acres, making it the largest incinerator in the U.S. if built, according to the Environmental Integrity Project.” http://bit.ly/1XLs4D6

PETROBAS IS TANKING — Oilprice.com: “Petrobras reported a record loss for the fourth quarter, a horrendous performance that raises questions about the company’s ability to handle its mountain of debt. The state-owned Brazilian oil company announced that it lost more than 36 billion reais in the fourth quarter, or more than USD $10 billion, a 40-percent [decrease] compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. The losses were all the more staggering because the previous year’s figures were inflated due to the massive corruption scandal, which continues to bedevil the company.” http://bit.ly/1RygTzt

FUTURES:

--Oil settles lower on global uncertainty: The Wall Street Journal reports oil prices settled lower after a volatile day, with supply pressures still weighing down the market.

“Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled down 7 cents, or 0.2%, at $41.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The May contract is the new front-month contract as of Tuesday, and Tuesday’s settlement price is the highest front-month closing price since Dec. 1. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 25 cents, or 0.6%, to $41.79 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the highest settlement since Dec. 4.” http://on.wsj.com/1RyiHIC

--Natural gas ends well: The Journal reports cold weather forecasts goosed natural gas prices on Tuesday.


"Futures for April delivery settled up 3.5 cents, or 1.9%, at $1.863 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange." http://on.wsj.com/1RyiO78

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