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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Environmental justice groups sound off on de Blasio plan; energy in budget

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 and we'll set you up for trial access. Thank you for reading.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE GROUPS CRITIQUE ONENYC — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: A coalition of environmental justice groups on Monday will issue the most comprehensive and critical assessment to date of Mayor Bill de Blasio's OneNYC, just weeks before the city provides its annual update to the climate plan. The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, a group of organizations that advocate primarily for low-income communities of color, conducted an exhaustive analysis of OneNYC, measuring its strengths and weaknesses. A draft copy was shared with POLITICO New York prior to today's release. The overall theme of the 76-page report is that environmental advocates in the very communities on which de Blasio has staked his legacy believe he has a long way to go to address their risks in a rapidly changing climate."

BUDGET INCLUDES $500 MILLION FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state budget includes $500 million for clean water and environmental protection programs. Among the allocations are $200 million in additional funding for water infrastructure improvements, grants for communities to replace aging drinking water and sewer pipes and $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, a 70-percent increase over last year for programs including habitat restoration, farmland protection and wilderness purchases and combating the spread of invasive species. Over the last two year, the Legislature has added $425 million in direct assistance for water infrastructure projects, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said.

MAYOR DEFENDS CLINTON ON FOSSIL FUEL ATTACK — POLITICO New York’s Dana Rubinstein: Bill de Blasio is disappointed in Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator's efforts to tie Hillary Clinton, de Blasio's former boss, to the the oil and gas industry are "not becoming of him,” the mayor told reporters during a Friday afternoon conference call. “And it’s not becoming of that movement to bring about more progressive change,” said de Blasio, who is now a Clinton surrogate after having remained neutral in the early stages of the primary. “And I think we should just get back to the issues.” The de Blasio phone call was an effort to tamp down a storyline that arose on Thursday in Purchase, when a Greenpeace activist asked Clinton if she would “reject fossil fuel money in the future in [her] campaign."

--Here’s why Clinton is justifiably annoyed by criticisms of her campaign’s oil and gas donations, the Washington Post examines.

--The Buffalo News analyzed claims by the Sanders campaign regarding the donations and report they don’t hold much water.

UTILITIES LOOKING FOR ENERGY PRICING ASSISTANCE UNDER REV—EnergyWire’s Behr: “The local utility of the future will be home to more rooftop solar, smart grid technologies and independent energy service providers. But it will need something else, experts say -- entirely new ways of pricing customer-supplied electricity supplies and conservation measures. The owner of several upstate New York utilities has asked Massachusetts Institute of Technology experts to design such a pricing strategy to help them meet the requirements of the state's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) utility restructuring policy.”

** 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: **


--Old, obscure law could stop Pilgrim Pipeline: The Record’s Scott Fallon reports a 1909 law says oil pipelines have to get two thirds approval from every village and town in their path.

--I’m a goin’ where the chilly winds don’t blow: An April Arctic blast brought freezing temps, high winds and light snow to parts of the state Sunday, leaving thousands without power.

--Solar companies are targeting upstate landowners with solar lease offers, the Associated Press reports.

--The New York Post editorial board asks: “Is it only because Michigan has a Republican governor and New York a Democratic one that [the Hoosick Falls] contaminated-water crisis never made national news?”

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

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION KEEPING IT IN THE GROUND—Vox’s David Roberts: “Over the past year or so, the Obama administration has shown increasing sympathy toward the new climate activism mantra: "Keep it in the ground." In November, Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, saying, "If we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground." Earlier this month, he surprised everyone by announcing that there would be no offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic after all. And perhaps most notably, in January the administration announced an immediate moratorium on all new leasing of coal on federal land, pending a comprehensive review of the leasing program that would consider, in part, its environmental impacts.”

COAL CUTS HIT WYOMING HARD — The Casper Star-Tribune's Hunter Woodall: “The day the layoffs came, a cigarette and a cold beer could do only so much. Thursday could have been a normal day at Hank's Roadside Bar and Grill in Wright, Wyo. ESPN and Fox News were on the TV screens, a midday crowd sipped Coors Light. But the folks inside who still had jobs didn't want to talk about friends who were now out of work — or the mine they'd soon have to go back to. Instead, they talked about how working in a coal mine was like working with family, and that times had been tough before, and that if they were down now, they could come back again. They were the lucky ones, that they knew.”

HEDGE FUNDS TAKE DIFFERENT PATHS ON RENEWABLE COMPANIES — The Wall Street Journal’s Spencer Jakab: “In this battle of the hedge fund titans one is basking in a warm glow while another is getting scorched. The issue involves two renewable energy companies that are so closely-linked that, until recently, it was hard to imagine one existing independently of the other. Not any more. SunEdison, in which David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital has a 6.6% stake, shed over half of its value last week and appears to be headed toward bankruptcy. It hasn’t filed an annual report and is facing an investigation into its reporting of cash. But while SunEdison created and happens to have voting control of its “yieldco” TerraForm Powerand its chief financial officer happens to also be the chief executive of TerraForm, the picture at the two companies is very different. TerraForm, in which David Tepper of Appaloosa Management disclosed Friday he had boosted his stake above 10%, has been beaten down by its parent’s woes but probably can survive on its own. Its shares rose over 15% on the week as investors began to grasp that fact and cheered Mr. Tepper’s show of confidence.”

ENGINEERING GLOBAL TEMPERATURES (WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?) — The New York Times’ Clyde Haberman: “With global temperatures rising inexorably, some scientists and national security theorists have pondered cooling things down by tinkering mechanically with the planet’s climate. The goal of this geoengineering would be to create an effect not unlike when clouds suddenly block the sun and chill a warm afternoon. Average surface temperatures might be held down by a few degrees worldwide, these experts suggest — enough, they theorize (maybe with fingers crossed), to stave off environmental cataclysm. How to do this? With smoke and mirrors. For real. One idea is to launch giant mirrors into space, where they would bounce back some of the sun’s energy. Another suggestion involves spraying ocean water into the air to whiten clouds and thereby increase their capacity to deflect sunlight.”

LEO WON’T BE BLACKLISTED FROM INDONESIA — People’s Adam Carlson: "Leonardo DiCaprio will not face the threat of deportation if he travels back to Indonesia, a government minister clarified this weekend, following an earlier suggestion from a different government official that DiCaprio could be "blacklisted" for his criticism of the nation's palm oil industry. 'My view is that DiCaprio's concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith,' Siti Nurbaya, Indonesia's minister of the environment and forestry, told 'In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter.'"

CHINA’S CARBON EMISSIONS MAY HAVE PEAKED — The New York Times’ Edward Wong: “A year and a half ago, negotiators from the United States persuaded the Chinese government to commit to a deadline for reversing the growth in greenhouse gas emissions from China. The Obama administration portrayed the pledge as a major victory because China produces more of the gases that cause global warming than any other country, a quarter of the world’s total. Though the deadline was far off, in 2030, environmentalists said the concession by Beijing was a significant breakthrough in efforts to coordinate a global response to climate change. Now, some researchers examining recent energy data and the slowing Chinese economy are asking whether emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, are already falling in China — more than a decade earlier than expected.”


--Oil takes a hit: Crude futures hit a month-long low Friday as Saudi Arabia balked at cutting production. The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled down $1.55, or 4%, at $36.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell $1.66, or 4.1%, to $38.67 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Both lost around 6% for the week, their worst weekly performances in more than a month.”

--It may be freezing this week, but don’t tell that to the natural gas markets. Prices retreated Friday as the market continues to be flooded with so much supply they don’t even know where to put all of it, the Journal reports.

“Natural-gas futures for May delivery settled down 0.3 cent, or 0.2%, at $1.956 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. They have peaked or just crested above $2/mmBtu for four-straight sessions, with rallies repeatedly failing around that price.”

** 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: **

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