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POLITICO New York Energy: EPA vs. Cuomo; bumpy merger of SolarCity and Tesla

09/01/2016 10:00 AM EDT

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 5:45 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!

TENSIONS RISING BETWEEN CUOMO ADMINISTRATION AND EPA - POLITICO New York's Scott Waldman: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration over a few high-profile issues in recent years, including a Tappan Zee bridge construction loan, oil trains in the Port of Albany and the cleanup of the Hudson River. But the unfolding water pollution crisis in Hoosick Falls has turned the administration's relationship with the EPA, and in particular with the Region 2 office headed by administrator Judith Enck, especially toxic. At the first of three legislative hearings on Hoosick Falls and water quality issues on Tuesday, state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker pointed to the EPA dozens of times as the reason residents were allowed to drink poisoned water without public warning. The state also took the unprecedented step of accusing the EPA of bungling the Hoosick Falls response and insisting that it reimburse some of the state's response costs.

On Wednesday, Enck said Zucker's claims were inaccurate. She said the state health department chose to ignore EPA warnings, disputing key data and insisting that federal safety levels were too high. She criticized state officials for focusing on finger-pointing rather than long-term solutions to the crisis.

SOLARCITY-TESLA MERGER TAKES WINDING ROUTE ALONG A BUMPY ROAD - The Buffalo News' David Robinson: "Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, first told his cousin, Lyndon Rive, CEO at SolarCity, in February that a merger between the electric vehicle maker and the rooftop solar energy installer deserved 'serious consideration.' But it took four months and several twists along the way before the two companies reached a preliminary agreement on the $2.4 billion combination."

L.I. SOLAR MARKET IN THE DUMPS - Newsday's Mark Harrington: "Long Island's white-hot market for rooftop solar installations has been a roller-coaster ride in 2016, spiking to a record in March before falling 62 percent by July."


--The Wall Street Journal editorial board asks what Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is trying to hide in his investigation of ExxonMobil.

--Pennsylvania officials say New York is ruining its energy industry.

--New York City may have purposefully rigged the test on lead in school drinking water.

--The NYISO named energy veteran Roger B. Kelley to its board.

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TESLA TO PAY DEBTHOLDERS TO SUPPORT SOLARCITY MERGER - The Wall Street Journal's John Stoll: "Tesla Motors Inc. will pay out nearly a half-billion dollars to debtholders in the third quarter and raise additional funds by the end of the year to support a proposed merger and pay for the development of a cheaper electric car, a new battery factory and an expansion of retail operations."

SOURCES: U.S. AND CHINA TO SIGN CLIMATE DEAL SOON - POLITICO's Andrew Restuccia and Eric Wolff: President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to formally commit their nations to last year's Paris climate change agreement in the coming days, a move that would increase pressure on other nations to follow suit and serve as an implicit rebuke to the deal's skeptics inside the U.S. [federal PRO]

ANALYSIS: OBAMA PLEDGE TO CUT GREENHOUSE GAS COULD COST $5 TRILLION - The Wall Street Journal's Adam Creighton: "President Barack Obama's pledge to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2050 might cost more than $5 trillion over three decades, according to a new analysis."

BLOCK ISLAND WIND BEYOND THE HYPE - POLITICO's Esther Whieldon: "Wind power advocates are hoping a successful launch of the nation's first offshore wind farm will set off a wave of new renewable power development along the coasts, but the flow of new projects may look more like a trickle for the next few years." [federal PRO]

CALIFORNIA REACHES CAP AND TRADE DEAL - The Los Angeles Times' Melanie Mason: "Legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have reached a deal on how to spend a significant portion of the money generated by the state's cap-and-trade auctions, breaking through a two-year impasse during which time the funds have sat unspent."

DUKE ENERGY TO PAY FOR FILTRATION AT COAL ASH-AFFECTED HOMES - The Associated Press: "North Carolina environmental regulators say Duke Energy will pay for new water lines or filtration systems for 1,000 households near coal ash storage pits."

DOMINION NEARS COMPLETION OF COAL WASTE PROJECT - The Associated Press: "Dominion Resources says it's close to finishing a major clean-up project in Southwest Virginia where it converts long-abandoned coal waste into energy."

NATURAL GAS MARKET PREDICTING A COLD WINTER - Bloomberg's Jonathan Crawford: "Natural gas traders are betting on the frostiest U.S. winter since the 'polar vortex' pummeled the U.S. in 2014 and sent prices for the heating fuel to a five-year high."

OLDEST FOSSILS FOUND IN GREENLAND - The New York Times' Nicholas Wade: "Geologists have discovered in Greenland evidence for ancient life in rocks that are 3.7 billion years old. The find, if confirmed, would make these fossils the oldest on Earth and may change scientific understanding of the origins of life."


--Oil took a sharp dive Wednesday after inventory data showed a record high supply, the Wall Street Journal reports.

--Natural gas ticked up Wednesday after signs of a storm off the Atlantic strengthened, The Journal reports.

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