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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Invenergy: PSC internal squabble; Schneiderman v. ExxonMobil

12/16/2016 10:00 AM EDT

By David Giambusso and Marie J. French

Good morning! You are reading a complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Energy newsletter. Pro subscribers receive a premium version of this newsletter, which includes an enhanced look-ahead and robust analysis of the energy news driving the day, weekdays at 5:45 a.m. Contact us here to learn more.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION DISPUTE ON ESCOs - POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: The state Public Service Commission has approved a prohibition on energy retailers selling to low-income customers unless they get special dispensation from the regulator. Thursday's decision to turn a temporary moratorium into a permanent ban comes amid litigation by the industry and a vociferous disagreement from one commissioner about the propriety of the PSC's actions. The commission has been attempting to crack down on energy service companies, or ESCOs, that charge customers more than utilities for electricity or gas, use deceptive or high-pressure sales tactics and don't provide additional energy efficiency or other services. Commissioner Diane Burman has been publicly skeptical of the tack the PSC has previously taken on the issue. On Thursday, she expressed her opposition to the broad prohibition and questioned whether the PSC has been vigorous in enforcing existing protections. Commission chair Audrey Zibelman ... called the implication that the PSC was doing anything except acting to protect consumers "offensive."

--The Public Service Commission also approved a rate hike for National Grid gas customers downstate.

--Petitions for rehearing on the Clean Energy Standard were also rejected.

HOOSICK FALLS SETTLEMENT - Albany Times Union's Brendan Lyons: "The Hoosick Falls Village Board has reached an undisclosed draft settlement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell that calls for the two companies to pay for expenses the village incurred after learning in 2014 that its water supply was polluted with a toxic manufacturing chemical."

--Residents are concerned about the possible contents of the settlement agreement. "They're negotiating with environmental terrorists to sign, seal and deliver a package plan that none of us know what's in it," Michele Baker, a Hoosick Falls resident who has been active on social media and at public events calling for more transparency and action from state and federal officials, said. "What is the big secret here? These are people's lives. This is my home."

SCHNEIDERMAN WINS ROUND AGAINST EXXON - POLITICO New York's Colby Hamilton: A federal judge in Texas on Thursday halted attempts by energy giant ExxonMobil to gather information about fraud investigations into the company's statements about the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. The investigations are being carried out by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts.

** A message from Clean Energy Link - Powered by Invenergy: The largest renewable energy project ever proposed on Long Island, Clean Energy Link is the quickest, most affordable path towards Governor Cuomo's 50 by 30 mandate. It's a win-win for Long Island: tripling renewables and preserving open space. LEARN MORE **


--NYISO CEO Brad Jones shares how the grid operator is adapting to Reforming the Energy Vision.

--Moody's affirmed the New York Power Authority's credit ratings.

--Anti-nuclear subsidy campaign #StoptheCuomoTax compared the Cuomo administration's secrecy around that issue to President-elect Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns.

--Natural gas and oil production in New York has dropped in the last eight years. Activists credit the state's ban on hydraulic fracturing.

--Four homes in Watertown had lead levels that exceed federal action levels.

--The massive Legoland New York project won a victory in court after residents challenged the plan.

--Lower taxes boosted the profits of Lancaster-based Ecology & Environment.

--A $100 million deal has been struck to save Pier 40 on the Hudson River.

--A captured Harlem deer is going to be euthanized. Or not:

GOOD FRIDAY MORNING: Let us know 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:

ON THE MOVE: Tony Wilkinson has been appointed to lead DEC's four Fish and Wildlife bureaus, overseeing more than 350 employees. Wilkinson has 36 years of experience as a wildlife biologist, zoologist, and researcher.

ENERGY ABOUT-FACE - PBS News Hour's Daniel Bush: "President-elect Donald Trump's nominees to lead energy and climate-related agencies like EPA hold views that could not be more different from the Obama administration."

TRUMP JR. PLAYED ROLE IN INTERIOR PICK - The Wall Street Journal's Amy Harder: "Donald Trump Jr. heavily influenced his father's decision to fill the post of interior secretary with Rep. Ryan Zinke, a one-term congressman who shares the younger Trump's enthusiasm for hunting, say people familiar with the pick."

PERRY'S NUMBER TWO - POLITICO's Darius Dixon: At the Energy Department, No. 2 is virtually as important as No. 1. If he is confirmed as President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Secretary, Rick Perry will bring a wealth of management experience from his time running the nation's top energy-producing state, but his resume is notably sparse when it comes to the nuclear weapons and Cold War cleanup work that accounts for two-thirds of DOE's nearly $30 billion budget. [federal PRO]

SOLAR BOOM STILL BOOMING - The Los Angeles Times' Ivan Penn: "Solar energy continued its bullish growth across the United States in the three months that ended Sept. 30, with a record number of installations for a single quarter."

RELIABILITY CHECK - POLITICO's Esther Whieldon: The North American Electric Reliability Corp. in a report Thursday cautioned that many regions are becoming too dependent on natural gas supplies for electricity. [federal PRO]

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS MINNESOTA MINING - The Wall Street Journal's Kris Maher: "The Obama administration on Thursday blocked two copper-mining leases in Minnesota, handing a victory to environmental groups that wanted to protect more than a million acres of lakes and forests in the state's Iron Range."

DUPONT SETTLES ON MERCURY CONTAMINATION - The Washington Post's Laura Vozzella: "DuPont agreed Thursday to pay about $50 million to settle claims stemming from the release of mercury from a Shenandoah Valley plant in the 1930s and '40s."

TEXAS TOWN'S WATER LIKELY POISONED - The Wall Street Journal's Dan Frosch: "Officials in the Texas Gulf Coast city of Corpus Christi warned residents and businesses on Thursday not to use tap water after a chemical spill was suspected of contaminating the municipal water supply."

LNG DO-OVER IN OREGON - POLITICO's Darius Dixon: Developers of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export plant that was blocked by FERC earlier this year said Thursday they intend to slim down the project and ask for a do-over. [federal PRO]

NEW NORTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR LIKES THE PIPELINE - The Associated Press: "New North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he supports completion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The Republican took office Thursday. He said in a Facebook video that the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline is a 'legally permitted project' that has been stalled by the Obama administration."


--Oil fell Thursday when a surge in the dollar raised questions about demand, the Wall Street Journal reports.

--Natural gas dropped too, also over demand concerns, the Journal reports.

** A message from Clean Energy Link - Powered by Invenergy: The largest renewable energy project ever proposed on Long Island, the Clean Energy Link is the quickest, most affordable path towards Governor Cuomo's 50 by 30 mandate. Consisting of four new wind and two new solar farms in four PJM states, the Clean Energy Link's portfolio has a generation capacity of over 700 MWs. Using sites totaling more than 55,000 acres spread across a geographically diverse area, the Clean Energy Link captures great economies of scale, brings Long Island a more consistent supply of green power than is currently available, and offers significant ratepayer value by delivering renewable energy at attractive prices. Operational by 2020, the Clean Energy Link is a win-win for Long Island: tripling renewables and preserving open space. LEARN MORE **

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