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By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman
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SANDERS BRINGS ANTI-FRACKING MESSAGE TO ALBANY FAITHFUL — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: In front of a crowd that included environmentalists, college students, mothers with young children and tie-dyed Woodstock types, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday celebrated the state's fracking ban and its decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 in many places. About 4,000 people crowded into a former National Guard armory in the Arbor Hill section of Albany to hear the Brooklyn native, who is challenging Hillary Clinton in New York's April 19 presidential primary. Sanders took the stage just hours after his campaign released an ad featuring actress Susan Sarandon and promising that he would ban fracking “everywhere.” It’s an issue on which Sanders and Clinton differ dramatically. The former U.S. senator from New York has characterized natural gas as a bridge fuel. In New York, Sanders’ base clearly aligns with the environmental movement, and he has criticized Clinton for accepting campaign money from fossil fuel interests and Wall Street. http://politi.co/1UWDdmW
--Josh Fox, director of the anti-fracking film “Gasland,” introduced Sanders in Binghamton. http://wapo.st/1N4m08x
--Sanders released an ad, featuring actress Susan Sarandon, saying he was the only candidate to oppose fracking. http://bit.ly/1XrClVq
CITY BIOFUEL BATTLE — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: http://politi.co/1MqrLgW
VERIZON STRIKE IMMINENT — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: After 10 months of seemingly fruitless contract negotiations, roughly 40,000 Verizon workers will walk off the job on Wednesday unless the company does a significant about-face before then, union officials said Monday. Unionized cable splicers, line technicians, call operators and others represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers made the announcement Monday in a conference call with reporters. A strike would affect workers and customers in New York and New Jersey, as well as in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. "Unless this company reconsiders its shameful, and I do mean shameful, demands, our members will be on strike as of Wednesday April 13, at 6 a.m," http://politi.co/1Mqsej9
** 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:
--SolarCity is selling tax breaks it cannot use. http://bit.ly/23yH4s5
--Midtown water main break: The New York Post reports, “A water main break caused massive plumes of steam to come swirling up from under a Midtown street Monday, shutting down an entire block.” http://nyp.st/1qEpV1T
--A bill that would require the state pension funds to to divest from coal, oil and gas companies cleared the State Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee, according to a statement from bill sponsor, Sen. Liz Krueger. http://politi.co/1Mqs4Z3
--"Exelon's Nine Mile Point 2 nuclear reactor in Scriba, New York, shut the unit at 12:13 am EDT Monday to conduct scheduled refueling and maintenance, plant spokeswoman Jill Lyon said in an email," Platts reports. http://bit.ly/1NlL99F
--Artificial Island may have to be rebid, after PSEG told PJM the pricetag would nearly double, RTO Insider reports. http://bit.ly/1NlKsgn
--ICYMI: Solar arrays on Long Island stir controversy, Newsday’s Mark Harrington reports. http://nwsdy.li/1qEpXXr
GOOD TUESDAY MORNING: Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB
CAN GLOBAL WARMING BE CURBED? — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “In  days, on Earth Day, world leaders will assemble at the United Nations in New York to sign the Paris climate agreement. That document pledges to hold the planet’s warming to ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and even to aspire to a 1.5 degree C temperature limit. The urgency of signing the agreement has been underscored by recent climate news and events, including devastating coral bleaching around the world,newly shattered temperature records and disturbing news about the vulnerability of Arctic permafrost and the Antarctic ice sheet. But there’s a problem: It is far from clear that, even if governments sign on to the Paris agreement and start implementing it rapidly, they actually know how to limit warming to 2 or 1.5 degrees Celsius.” http://wapo.st/1qEsf9e
-- "Obama’s rapid move to join the Paris climate agreement could tie up the next president," by The Washington Post: http://wapo.st/1qEspNM
FORMER DOE EMPLOYEE SENTENCED AFTER ATTEMPTED ESPIONAGE — The Washington Post’s Spencer Hsu: “A former Energy Department employee was sentenced to 18 months in prison after offering to help a foreign government infiltrate the agency’s computer system to steal nuclear secrets and then attempting an email ‘spear-phishing’ attack in an FBI sting operation. Charles Harvey Eccleston, an environmental scientist formerly employed by the department and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, pleaded guilty in February to one charge of attempting to damage protected government computers. Eccleston was arrested in March 2015 by Philippine authorities.” http://wapo.st/1MqsI8N
MASS. GOV SIGNS SOLAR BILL — WBUR’s Matt Murphy: “Joined by Democratic legislative leaders, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday morning signed a solar energy bill that industry stakeholders say will unclog a pipeline of projects that had stalled after Massachusetts hit caps on the amount of excess power that can be sold back to the grid with incentives. Baker, who had proposed his own legislation last year and watched as House and Senate lawmakers tried to negotiate a compromise since last November, lauded the final compromise on an issue that he called 'really tough' with interest groups on both sides raising 'strong points of view and legitimate concerns.'” http://wbur.fm/1qEqM2L
WOMAN ENSURES EVERY DAY COUNTS FOR JAILED COAL BARON — The Huffington Post’s Sam Levine: “Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was sentenced to just one year in prison for safety violations at a West Virginia mine that led to the deaths of 29 miners in a 2010 explosion. Now, one woman is working to push Blankenship to reflect on his crimes. Ann Bybee-Finley, who grew up in Hurricane, West Virginia, launched a campaign called “Making one year count” on Wednesday, calling on people to send letters to Blankenship every day that he is in prison. She wants to show Blankenship how many people he affected and empower West Virginians to speak out against the abuses and influence of the coal industry in their state.” http://huff.to/1VOnUMe
GREENTECH AWARDS — Greentech Media: “For the past three years, Greentech Media has been highlighting some of the companies at the heart of this transformation with its Grid Edge Awards list. This year’s winners include some of the country’s biggest utilities and grid vendors, as well as behind-the-scenes technology providers and software startups, and several projects that bring utilities and third parties together in innovative ways. Awardees are nominated by and voted on by energy industry stakeholders, including the team of analysts at GTM Research. Final award winners are selected with input from Greentech Media’s Grid Edge Executive Council, which since its launch in the fall of 2013 has grown to more than 100 member companies.” http://bit.ly/1qEr7Cu
DRILLING COMPANY GUTS DIVIDEND — The Wall Street Journal’s Austen Hufford: “National Oilwell Varco Inc. cut its dividend by 89%, as the maker of drilling equipment and provider of oil-field services moves to preserve capital amid a sustained decline in energy prices. The company also said it expects its first-quarter revenue to decline by about 20% sequentially from the prior quarter’s revenue. Analysts were expecting a roughly 12% sequential decline. The revenue drop would be about 55% from same quarter a year earlier. National Oilwell Varco’s quarterly dividend will fall to five cents a share from 46 cents per share previously. The dividend reduction will increase its net cash flow by about $615 million a year.” http://on.wsj.com/1qEs0uK
DRILLING PERMITS UP 10 PERCENT — POLITICO’s Elana Schor: “The number of oil and gas drilling permits approved on federal land rose by 10 percent in fiscal 2015 from the previous year, while the number of approved permits left unused by industry reached a record high, according to statistics released today by the Bureau of Land Management. BLM's fiscal 2015 release also showed a 10-percent increase in production on federal lands since fiscal 2014.” http://politico.pro/1qEsS2q [federal Pro]
CANADIAN PACIFIC ENDS BID FOR NORFOLK SOUTHERN — The New York Times’ DealBook: “After five months of pressure, three merger offers and one rejection from regulators, Canadian Pacific Railway said on Monday that it had abandoned efforts to combine with its American railroad counterpart Norfolk Southern. Canadian Pacific withdrew a resolution for Norfolk Southern shareholders to vote on negotiations between the two companies, according to a statement by Canadian Pacific.” http://nyti.ms/1qErAVk
OPEC NATIONS HOPE FOR THAW — The New York Times’ Stanley Reed: “When officials from OPEC, Russia and some other oil-producing countries meet this weekend in Doha, Qatar, to discuss freezing petroleum production at current levels, the session’s significance might have more to do with style than substance. The fact is that the two biggest players at the meeting — Saudi Arabia and Russia — are already pumping virtually flat out. They have little room to increase production even if they wanted to. But signals the two countries have sent recently, indicating they would rather discuss cooperation than continue cutthroat competition, have buoyed oil prices well above their lows in mid-January, when the Brent crude international benchmark dipped below $30 a barrel. On Monday Brent crude was trading above $41.” http://nyti.ms/1qEroFs
--Oil landed above $40 for the first time in about three weeks, bolstered by hopes for an international cut in production at the upcoming OPEC meeting, the Wall Street Journal reports.
"Both major contracts rose for the second trading session in a row, after surging more than 6% on Friday. The U.S. benchmark ended 1.6% higher at $40.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the Brent contract rose 2.1% to end at $42.83 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange." http://on.wsj.com/1Mqsrmq
--Natural gas loses as spring weather approaches, the Journal reports.
“Natural gas futures were down 3.9% at $1.9120 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. A long cold snap to start April prompted the market to rally 12% between late March and last week, but expectations for prolonged cold weather are beginning to moderate.” http://on.wsj.com/1Mqswqi
** 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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