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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 email@example.com and we'll set you up for trial access. Thank you for reading.
WIND RULES — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: After claims of bribery and intimidation of local officials, the state’s wind industry now has an updated code of conduct, and violators could face fines. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office will announce Thursday a revised code of conduct for the wind energy industry. The code will deter improper relationships between government officials and wind development companies, according to Schneiderman. That could include benefits given to public officials and improperly sought land-use agreements. "Public officials throughout New York should encourage the growth of a strong, sustainable wind industry for the public good and not for their own private financial gain,” Schneiderman said in an advanced statement provided to POLITICO New York.” http://politi.co/1SBqIXY
CON ED COURT—Village Voice’s Jon Campbell: “Con Ed Court is a fixture of [New York City’s public courthouses], and similar proceedings are held every week all over the city, with the full knowledge and consent of the Office of Court Administration (OCA), the agency that oversees the court system. Two hundred and eighty-four such meetings were held in February alone, according to a Con Ed spokesperson. A spokesperson for the court said they've been happening for decades. Advocates for low-income utility customers say the setup is a perversion of the legal system, designed to dupe customers. By sending out what amounts to mock court papers — accurate down to their utilitarian font — and luring customers into an actual courtroom, the company, they insist, is using the imprimatur of the legal system to pressure consumers into giving up their rights. All with the blessing of the courts.” http://bit.ly/23cIbB0
** 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: 8 substations in LIPA territory are already maxed out for renewable energy, Newsday’s Mark Harrington reports. http://nwsdy.li/25LB3tZ
--East Hampton and Nassau are among 15 cities and towns nationally that have committed to powering themselves with 100 percent clean energy, The Weather Channel reports. http://wxch.nl/25LAK2i
--The NJ Transit board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to appoint William Crosbie as the agency’s new executive director. Crosbie, a former chief operating officer for Amtrak, will assume the role on or about April 25. — POLITICO’s Katie Jennings.
--Con Ed is building a bike and pedestrian path along the Queensboro Bridge as part of an overall safety upgrade. http://bit.ly/25LCV62
--There was a fire at the troubled Cayuga power plant on Wednesday. http://bit.ly/1V9oiWy
GOOD THURSDAY MORNING : Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.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
SNYDER SUED FOR RACKETEERING — The Associated Press: “Hundreds of residents of Flint, Michigan, filed a racketeering lawsuit Wednesday targeting Gov. Rick Snyder and other state and local officials over lead contamination of the city’s drinking water. Filed in U.S. District Court in Flint, the suit is one of many arising from the decision to switch the Flint supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River in April 2014 to cut costs. The move was supposed to be temporary, until Flint could join a new water authority that would pipe water from Lake Huron.” http://wapo.st/1N9U1iB
BILLIONAIRE PUSHES GOP CLEAN ENERGY PUSH — Bloomberg: “Julian Robertson, a top Republican donor and legendary hedge-fund manager, is backing a campaign to push the party's candidates to support clean-energy policies. Robertson recently gave $500,000 to a new super-PAC known as ClearPath Action, which advocates for nuclear and hydroelectric power and cleaner coal and natural gas technology. 'The time has come for Republicans to embrace a conservative clean energy platform,' the billionaire investor said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. ClearPath is the brainchild of Jay Faison, a North Carolina entrepreneur and Republican.” http://bloom.bg/25LAxMA
FEDS LOOK TO BLOCK HALLIBURTON ACQUISITION — The Associated Press: ”The Justice Department on Wednesday sued to stop Halliburton Co. from acquiring oilfield services rival Baker Hughes Inc., saying the deal would eliminate head-to-head competition and harm consumers. The proposed transaction, valued at nearly $35 billion, would combine two of the world’s three leading providers of those services to oil and gas companies and create a bigger rival to the industry leader, Schlumberger Ltd. But the Justice Department warned in its complaint that the proposed consolidation would lead to higher prices and stifle innovation in an industry that fiercely competes for the business of exploration and production companies and to develop technologies for deeper drilling.” http://wapo.st/25LBvZk
BLANKENSHIP HEADED TO JAIL — The New York Times’ Alan Blinder: “Donald L. Blankenship, whose leadership of Massey Energy Company transformed him into one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Appalachia, was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in prison for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. The sentencing, in Federal District Court [in Charleston, West Virginia], came six years and one day after an explosion tore through Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine, killing 29 people. Although Mr. Blankenship was not accused of direct responsibility for the accident, the deadliest in American coal mining in about 40 years, the disaster prompted the federal inquiry that led to Mr. Blankenship’s indictment. In addition to the year in jail, Mr. Blankenship was fined $250,000 and is subject to a year of supervised release.” http://nyti.ms/25LC3hM
THE TESLA EFFECT — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: "Since introducing the Model 3 sedan — a far cheaper electric vehicle, aimed for broader consumption, than the Model S — Tesla saw a stunning 276,000 orders in just two days. Tesla aims to sell 500,000 electric vehicles per year by 2020 ... By electrifying transportation (and thus, powering cars not with gasoline derived from oil, but rather, with an electricity supply that itself is getting greener), how fast can we start to bring down the United States’, and the planet’s, emissions? ... Several experts this week said that booming Tesla sales don’t make enough of a dent in transportation — at least not immediately — to shift this in a substantial way. The problem is that the global auto industry is massive, and even a half-million Tesla sales per year isn’t all that much in that context.” http://wapo.st/25LCyIN
KEYSTONE LEAK’S BIGGER ISSUE — InsideClimate News: “An oil spill that surfaced in South Dakota over the weekend prompted Canadian pipeline company TransCanada to shut down its Keystone I pipeline, a predecessor to the controversial Keystone XL project. TransCanada had still not confirmed the leak as of Tuesday, calling it a 'potential incident.' According to Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, the leak was first reported by a passerby. TransCanada reported to the U.S. Coast Guard on Saturday that 187 gallons of oil had leaked, Nelson said. The line is expected to remain closed all week.” http://bit.ly/1RYwPYE
WILLIAMS CRIES FOUL IN ENERGY TRANSFER DEAL — Bloomberg: “Williams Cos. is accusing pipeline magnate Kelcy Warren, the chief executive officer of its would-be owner Energy Transfer Equity LP, of ‘maliciously orchestrating’ a unit offering that breached the terms of its takeover. Warren interfered with the terms of the companies’ merger pact by arranging the offering of units in Energy Transfer last month that it may use to finance the merger, Williams said in a lawsuit filed in a Texas court. Warren led the offering to “enrich himself” at the expense of other shareholders, according to Williams.” http://bloom.bg/1RYxFVm
THE BIGGEST (PROPOSED) MARINE RESERVE ON EARTH — The Washington Post’s Chelsea Harvey: “A new proposal could result in the creation of the largest protected natural area on Earth. Inhabitants of the Austral Islands — the southernmost islands in French Polynesia in the South Pacific — have just presented a proposal to the government of French Polynesia calling for a new marine reserve in their waters. The protected area, which is pending final approval from the government, would span 1 million square kilometers, or more than 380,000 square miles, an area the size of Texas and Nevada combined. In 2013, the French Polynesian government committed to protecting at least 20 percent of its waters by 2020. The proposed reserve around the Austral Islands would fulfill this commitment while also protecting a diverse and ecologically important marine landscape.” http://wapo.st/25LCJ6I
WIND AND SOLAR CRUSHING FOSSIL FUELS — Bloomberg: “Wind and solar have grown seemingly unstoppable. While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels. One reason is that renewable energy is becoming ever cheaper to produce. Recent solar and wind auctions in Mexico and Morocco ended with winning bids from companies that promised to produce electricity at the cheapest rate, from any source, anywhere in the world, said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.” http://bloom.bg/25LDKvL
WE ALL SHINE ON — The Washington Post’s Rachel Feltman: “When massive stars die, they sometimes go supernova — exploding in incredible bursts of energy. Scientists haven't spotted one in our own galaxy since 1604, and that explosion happened about 20,000 light-years away. But now researchers have evidence of two supernovas that occurred relatively recently, cosmically speaking, and happened just 300 light-years away. The explosions would have been visible during the day — as bright as the moon — for weeks at a time. That's long before our own species showed up, but it's likely that other humans were able to enjoy the light show.” http://wapo.st/1RYxb1A
MERLE HAGGARD died yesterday. The folk country legend was 79. We leave you today with his tune, “Big City” which, among other things, is a lament of poor urban sanitation. http://bit.ly/25LUi6R
--Oil soars on stockpile reduction: Oil prices boomed Wednesday as data showed stockpiles were significantly lower than expected, Nicole Friedman of the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled up $1.86, or 5.2%, at $37.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, rose $1.97, or 5.2%, to $39.84 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.” http://on.wsj.com/1RYqmNm
--Natural gas on the other hand continued its slump as supply continues to flood the market, the Journal reports.
“Natural gas for May delivery settled down 4.3 cents, or 2.2%, at $1.911 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.” Ht tp://on.wsj.com/1RYqqgl
** 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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