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POLITICO New York Energy: Council speaker questioned, bag bill delayed, PSC rejects audit

02/08/2017 10:01 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.

MARK-VIVERITO'S POWER QUESTIONED AFTER BAG VOTE - POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Less than two weeks ago, when mayors and other city officials from across the state trekked up to Albany to testify about the state's budget, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito decided to sit out the field trip, instead opting to send the Council's Finance Committee chair to represent the chamber on a day known for long winded testimony and repetitive questioning. Some members of the Council saw that decision as a missed opportunity, having hopped the speaker would have scheduled face-time with Albany's legislative leaders, especially State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie of the Bronx, as negotiations were heating up over how the state should handle a city law to charge a five-cent fee for the use of plastic bags. Read more here.

ASSEMBLY VOTES TO PUT BAG FEE TO SLEEP - POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: The fate of New York City's five-cent bag fee grew ever more dim Tuesday, after the Assembly easily passed a bill enacting a moratorium on the fee a week before it was scheduled to go into effect. Read more here.

TROY SALT PILE CONCERNS - Albany Times Union's Kenneth Crowe: "Relocating a big, old salt pile along the Hudson River is getting a new push from Riverside Neighborhood residents concerned about its environmental impact. It's been nine years, since then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno of Brunswick secured $500,000 in state funding to move the mound of road salt downriver into the South Troy industrial area. But officials have been unable to achieve that goal." Read more here.

PSC REJECTS AUDIT RECOMMENDATIONS - POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: The state comptroller wants to see the Public Service Commission track consumer complaints about multiple utilities or broader issues, according to an audit released last week. Read more here.

AROUND NEW YORK:

--LIPA trustees were briefed on potential time-of-use rates last week.

--New York environmental and health officials updated residents near Beaver Dam Lake, where PFOS linked to the Stewart Air National Guard base has been found, on well testing in the area.

--The permanent filter system for Hoosick Falls is fully operational, the state announced.

--NYSERDA released a roadmap for renewable heating and cooling technology, aka geothermal. It includes rebates for installing the systems.

--Comptroller Tom DiNapoli stood out in the rain with striking workers at Momentive, a Waterford chemical plant.

--The town of East Hampton will track energy use in all municipal building to help with plans to move toward carbon neutrality.

--The Buffalo News takes a closer look at National Fuel's proposed Northern Access pipeline and the case for and against.

--The town of Moreau is learning from a "crash course" on sewer projects.

--The air is being monitored at the scene of an Elmwood fire because of vats of hydrochloric acid.

--Troy got 13 bids to knock down an old industrial building that was to have housed a $15 million environmental center to study the Hudson River.

--The town of Wheatfield set aside funds for a fence around a toxic landfill.

--COLUMN: $2 billion isn't enough to replace New York's aging water infrastructure, writes The Daily Orange's environmental columnist.

--SLIDESHOW: Adorable animals at the Buffalo Zoo in winter.

GOOD WEDNESDAY MORNING: Let us know if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and mfrench@politico.com.

And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one they can sign up here.

'ELDER STATESMEN' IN GOP CALL FOR CARBON TAX - The New York Times' John Schwartz: "A group of Republican elder statesmen are calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change. The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is "a conservative climate solution" based on free-market principles." Read more here.

SOLAR JOB BOOST - CNBC's Anmar Frangoul: "Solar jobs in America increased at an "historic" pace in 2016 on "unprecedented" consumer demand as the cost of solar panels declined, according to The Solar Foundation's National Solar Jobs Census 2016." Read more here.

--New York actually lost solar jobs last year, Buffalo News' David Robinson reports.

--New Jersey actually lost 14 percent of its solar jobs, according to the report.

DAKOTA ACCESS APPROVED - Bloomberg's Meenal Vamburkar: "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a court filing it will grant Energy Transfer Partners LP the easement it needs to finish the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline." Read more here.

NOAA 'WHISTLEBLOWER' CLARIFIES - E and E News' Scott Waldman: "The federal climate scientist hailed by conservatives as a whistleblower for allegedly revealing manipulated global warming data said yesterday he was actually calling out a former colleague for not properly following agency standards for research." Read more here.

ANTARCTIC CRACK ACCELERATING - The New York Times' Jugal K. Patel: "A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica's fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break." Read more here.

MEDIA MOVES - Gorkana: "Hannah Fairfield has been named Climate Editor at The New York Times. In this role, she will oversee climate change coverage, which crosses a variety of topical desks and global bureaus."

RUSSIA, U.S. LIKELY PARTNERS IN SLOWING CLIMATE PROGRESS - InsideClimate News' Neela Banerjee: "As Donald Trump pushes the United States toward inaction on climate change, he is likely to find an ally in Russia. Russia is the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Yet the plan it submitted under the Paris agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is one of the weakest of any government and actually permits Russia to increase carbon pollution over time." Read more here.

BAY AREA MAD AT RATE HIKES - The San Francisco Business Times' Riley McDermid: "Bay Area customers are voicing increasing outrage at much larger than normal PG&E bills they received in January, as the utility's double-digit rate hikes began to hit home." Read more here.

OKLAHOMA MAY TAX WIND - The Oklahoman's Paul Monies: "Oklahoma would become the second state to impose a tax on wind power, and its tax would be the nation's highest, under a proposal announced Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin." Read more here.

COAL HAMPERS CHINA'S CLIMATE PROGRESS - The New York Times' Edward Wong: "When scientists and environmental scholars scan the grim industrial landscape of China, a certain coal plant near the rugged Kazakhstan border stands out." Read more here.

BP NEEDS OIL TO HIT $60 TO BREAK EVEN - The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Kent: "BP PLC said it needs oil prices to rise to $60 a barrel in order to break even, as the British oil giant ramped up debt levels last year to fund spending, maintain its dividend and cope with costs associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster." Read more here.

FUTURES:

--Oil fell a second day Tuesday on continued supply concerns and a strong dollar, The Wall Street Journal reports. Read more here.

--Natural gas got a little boost from cold weather predictions the Journal reports. Read more here.

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/tipsheets/politico-new-york-energy/2017/02/council-speaker-questioned-bag-bill-delayed-psc-rejects-audit-006450

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