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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Propane fracking proposal still on the table; SolarCity subpoenaed

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! You are receiving the complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Energy newsletter. Pro subscribers are receiving an enhanced version of this newsletter at 5:30 a.m. each weekday, which includes a look-ahead and robust analysis of energy policy news driving the day. If you would like the Pro version of this newsletter, along with customized real-time insights on New York energy, please contact us here and we will set you up with trial access. Thank you for reading!

DEC REQUESTS MORE INFORMATION ON PROPANE FRACKING PROPOSAL — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state Department of Environmental Conservation is requesting more information about a proposal to frack for natural gas in the Southern Tier using propane and sand rather than water. The energy industry and environmentalists agree the proposal has the potential to bypass the ban on fracking that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered in December 2014. The ban applied to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses large volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals to create fractures in rock that release gas. Under the proposal by Tioga Partners LLC for test wells on a hay and corn farm in Tioga County, the fracking would be done using liquefied petroleum gas and sand instead of water to split the rock. The gelled propane would be recaptured as a gas when it rises back to the surface. http://politi.co/23LOqqa

SOLARCITY SUBPOENAED IN FEDERAL PROBE — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “SolarCity, whose state-funded 'gigafactory' is the plum of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, acknowledged Thursday it had received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s office investigating improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts in state contracts.” http://nwsdy.li/1T9IKRP

SCHUMER CALLS FOR FEDERAL PFOA LIMIT NOW — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: http://politi.co/1UXcCWq

** 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 bill creating a utility consumer advocate has resurfaced in Albany but Bill Sanderson reports its chances are slim. http://bit.ly/1OlwkK7

--The New York Green Bank announced $220 million in new investments. Here’s the press release: http://bit.ly/1T9JpCV

--There will be a protest in NYC Monday against Con Ed’s partnership with Crestwood Midstream to develop underground propane and butane gas storage in the Finger Lakes. http://bit.ly/1siqakd

--The Adirondacks made Fodor’s list of the America’s 10 Best State Parks. http://bit.ly/1Nse9Cl

--The Wellsville Daily Reporter looks at the DEC’s rejection of the Constitution pipeline. http://bit.ly/27i9xVG

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

DOCTOR FEARED RETRIBUTION FOR DUKE WELL WARNINGS — The Associated Press’ Emery Dalesio: “North Carolina’s state health director feared legislators would take away some of his authority before deciding in March to reverse warnings that hundreds of water wells near Duke Energy power plants were too contaminated to use, according to testimony provided by environmentalists Thursday.” http://wapo.st/1T9HSg4

THE DEADLY PROBLEM OF URBAN POLLUTION — The New York Times’ Vikas Bajaj: “A new World Health Organization report paints a disturbing picture of the quality of air in cities around the globe.” http://nyti.ms/1siqC1V

OKLAHOMA INSURANCE COMPANIES NERVOUS ABOUT FRACKING — Reuters: “As the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma exploded into the hundreds in the last few years, nearly a dozen insurance companies moved to limit their exposure, often at the expense of homeowners, a Reuters examination has found.” http://reut.rs/1WreYyl

EPA ISSUES METHANE RULES — The Wall Street Journal: “The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued the first-ever federal standards aimed at curbing methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry, the latest in a series of regulations the Obama administration is pursuing in an effort to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.” http://on.wsj.com/1T9JIgX

SENATE APPROVES $37.5B ENERGY, WATER SPENDING BILL — The Associated Press’ Matthew Daly: “The Senate on Thursday approved a $37.5 billion measure to fund energy and water programs next year, the first of the 12 spending bills lawmakers must approve to keep the government operating.” http://wapo.st/1T9Kbjd

REPORT: STATES, UTILITIES BLOCKING SOLAR — Utility Dive’s Herman Trabish: “Across most of the nation, it’s clear solar power is taking off. But still, some states are lagging behind and are holding on to policies that cramp growth instead of nurturing it, according to a new report.” http://bit.ly/1T9K0Vg

FRACKING WATER WELL MAY BE POLLUTING CREEK — InsideClimate News: “A U.S. Geological Survey investigation has uncovered evidence that a natural gas wastewater disposal site in West Virginia is contaminating a nearby creek.” http://bit.ly/1T9JRRH

ON NOT TALKING MORE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “If you want to understand why it is that on a planet wracked by climate change, people still don’t talk much about climate change, then this may be the key: They’re people. Or, more specifically, they’re evolved social mammals who are acutely attuned to how they are perceived by the other evolved social mammals around them — and reasonably so, because those perceptions greatly influence their own lives.” http://wapo.st/1WtaQ0e

COAL BOSS HEADS TO PRISON — Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Ken Ward Jr.: “Don Blankenship surrendered himself to federal authorities at a California prison Thursday, after an appeals court flatly turned down the former Massey Energy Co. CEO’s bid to remain free while he appeals his conviction for conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 miners died in an April 2010 explosion.” http://bit.ly/1UXfzGl

CHINA SOLAR KING FALLS ON HARD TIMES — Bloomberg: “Miao’s push to dominate photovoltaics lies in pieces after Yingli missed repayment on 1.76 billion yuan ($270 million) of debt and said it’s talking with creditors about refinancing. It’s teetering is starting to look like the collapse of Shi Zhengrong’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. in 2013 — global aspirations, the amassing of billions of dollars in debt, plunging prices, overcapacity and then retreat.” http://bloom.bg/1Olylpy

FUTURES:

--Oil hits another peak as data from the IEA appeared to show cuts in supply, the Wall Street Journal reports. http://on.wsj.com/1T9Ko6c

--Natural gas dropped as supply continues to overwhelm the market, the Journal reports.

http://on.wsj.com/1T9Ktqx

** 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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