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POLITICO New York Energy: Cuomo's new efficiency target -- Nixon embraces green goals -- City mulls plastic-free parks

By Marie J. French and Danielle Muoio | 04/23/2018 09:57 AM EDT

CUOMO'S NEW EFFICIENCY TARGET — POLITICO's Marie J. French: What's in a number? Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration announced an interim 2025 energy efficiency target for buildings and a goal to get utilities to 3 percent annual reductions of electricity use by that year. Environmentalists were pleased, but it was initially difficult to compare the announcement with the administration's 2030 goal. A NYSERDA spokeswoman on late Friday said the 2025 goal — to reduce forecasted 2025 on-site energy use by residential, commercial and industrial buildings by 185 trillion Btu — is equivalent to a 16 percent reduction in primary energy used by buildings from 2012. The 2030 target was equivalent to a 23 percent reduction, but it's a bit more complicated than that. More details about the goal and policies to achieve it are expected this week in a whitepaper. Read more here.

NIXON EMBRACES GREEN GOALS — Marie: Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Cynthia Nixon has embraced progressive environmental priorities including a tax on carbon, a 100 percent emissions-free economy by 2050 and a "just transition" for low-income communities and workers in fossil fuel industries. Nixon announced the platform on Friday, ahead of Earth Day on Sunday. Environmentalists had already taken note of Nixon's support for a ban on all new natural gas infrastructure, including pipelines and power plants. Some activists in the environmental movement have been increasingly dissatisfied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's progress on renewables and his approval of some natural gas projects. "It's time to treat the earth as our shared home where no one will worry that their air, water, or land is being polluted by poison dug up from the ground," Nixon, a former actor best known for her role on "Sex and the City," said in a statement. "We must restore balance in a world designed to sustain us and make sure the earth is habitable for the next generation, the seventh generation and the seventieth generation." Read more here.

— Nixon criticized Cuomo new efficiency goals as "rehashed" and said the main way she'd accomplish the goal was passing the Climate and Community Protection Act, which "offers directives, goals and oversight, but little practical advice," the New York Times reports.

CITY MULLS PLASTIC-FREE PARKS — The New York Times' Winnie Hu: " The Ballfields Café in Central Park sells more than 400 bottled waters a week to hot-dog lovers washing down the salt, families on the go and tourists from places where the tap water is undrinkable. But all those bottles go into an endless stream of plastic that has overflowed trash cans, clogged landfills and choked oceans. Now the New York City Council plans to consider banning the sale of disposable plastic bottles at city parks, beaches and golf courses. While the bottles could still be brought in by park-goers, the proposed ban is intended to be a significant step toward curbing the ubiquitous plastic bottles that have become a staple of everyday life. 'New Yorkers love convenience, especially because we are always running from one place to another, but this will make us pause and realize the impact that our actions are having on our environment,' said Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr., a Democrat from Brooklyn, who is proposing the ban with Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat from the Upper East Side." Read more here.

— City Council members are also proposing a bill that would put more turbines on New York City rooftops, Crain's reports.

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AROUND NEW YORK:

— The growing wave of large solar power projects coming to the mid-Hudson holds the promise of lower electric bills and cleaner energy, but the projects often spark resistance from some in the community.

— Cuomo's administration acted on the Friday before Earth Day to reject a water permit for a major pipeline that has been supported by National Grid to supply New York City. The Williams Transco pipeline is still awaiting final approvals from FERC and the rejection is tied to a recent court decision that limits the time the state has to decide on permits for pipeline projects.

— Cars will be banned from roads in Central Park.

— Indian Point Unit 2 returned to service after a month-long scheduled outage for refueling and maintenance.

— The first settlement from LIPA's tax challenge to National Grid is in plain site. But ratepayers shouldn't expect lower bills immediately.

— Spring has arrived, and with it comes a tiny menace that can pack a potentially devastating punch: Lyme disease-bearing ticks.

— The Public Accountability Initiative examined the money spent on the consulting and lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs by Competitive Power Ventures, the developer of the CPV Valley plant.

— New York State Electric and Gas Corp. is preparing to dredge part of Mettawee River to remove coal tar that polluted the river a century ago.

— A Canadian solar developer has no plans to build three new proposed arrays without contracts for subsidies from NYSERDA or NYPA.

— Democratic congressional hopefuls Gareth Rhodes and Brian Flynn are both taking steps to offset their carbon footprint during the campaign season.

— A woman explains why she plans to get arrested at today's climate rally in Albany.

— ICYMI: The mayor of Parrish, Alabama says there is still a lingering smell from the "poop train" from New York that sat idly in the town. But after three months of sitting there, the train is finally gone

— LETTER: The Business Council of New York State's Darren Saurez writes that a bill to transition the state off fossil fuels by 2050 is unrealistic.

— LETTER: A supporter of a carbon tax says it would help achieve the state's climate goals.

— VIDEO: The state fish hatchery in Constantia has been a bustling place the last couple of weeks as workers get ready for the walleye fishing season.

— EDITORIAL: Suffolk County's plastic bag fee is leading to more responsible retail decisions.

ACROSS THE RIVER:

— Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill to block offshore drilling in state waters, dealing a blow to the Trump administration's East Coast drilling proposal.

— Vox's David Roberts notices the nuclear bailout and renewables push in New Jersey.

— Murphy signed an executive order that directs state departments to implement environmental justice into their statutory and regulatory responsibilities.

— COLUMN: Earth Day began as a political movement to protect the planet from men like President Donald Trump, writes Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

PRUITT'S PAST DEALS — The New York Times' Steve Eder and Hiroko Tabuchi: "An examination of Mr. Pruitt's political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past." Read more here.

— "The lobbyist whose wife rented a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condo to Pruitt met with him in July along with the director of the charitable arm of Smithfield Foods Inc., a pork processing company that was regulated by the agency," Bloomberg reports.

FERC REVIEWS PIPELINE POLICIES — NJ Spotlight's Tom Johnson: "The federal government is opening a review on whether its policies governing approval of interstate natural-gas pipelines should be revamped, an issue often raised by critics of the rapid expansion of industry infrastructure in New Jersey." Read more here.

RISING SEAS SWAMP MIAMI HOUSING MARKET — The Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto and Arian Campo-Flores: "Concerns over rising sea levels and floods are beginning to reshape one of the country's largest housing markets, with properties closer to sea level now trading at discounts to those at higher elevations." Read more here.

CONNECTICUT EYES RENEWABLES — Hartford Courant's Rebecca Lurye: "A Massachusetts-based energy company hopes to build the first offshore wind farm for Connecticut, promising the development would bring up to $1 billion in economic benefits to the state. Meanwhile, an investment firm proposes building a $1 billion energy and innovation park in vacant portions of the Stanley Black & Decker campus in New Britain. ... Those are two of the 27 energy proposals before the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which is seeking new projects to help meet Connecticut's clean energy goals." Read more here.

SOLAR COMING TO SUNSHINE STATE — Bloomberg's Brian Eckhouse and Chris Martin: "The Sunshine State is removing what solar installer Sunrun Inc. has seen as a roadblock to consumer panel leasing, an arrangement that drove a boom in rooftop power systems elsewhere in the U.S." Read more here.

WIND MAPPED: Thanks to a new online database, details on every one of the 57,636 operating turbines in the U.S. are only a mouse-click away, Bloomberg reports.

EARTH DAY HISTORY LESSON — The New York Times' Livia Albeck-Ripka and Kendra Pierre-Louis: "A huge oil spill. A river catching fire. Lakes so polluted they were too dangerous for fishing or swimming. Air so thick with smog it was impossible to see the horizon. ... Here's a look at five environmental disasters that shifted the public conversation and prompted, directly or indirectly, lawmakers to act." Read more here.

SINCLAIR EXECS PUSHED CLIMATE SKEPTICISM — Buzzfeed News' Steven Perlberg: "Sinclair Broadcast Group executives reprimanded and ultimately ousted a local news reporter who refused to seed doubt about man-made climate change and 'balance' her stories in a more conservative direction." Read more here.

OIL PRICES CLIMB — The Wall Street Journal's Stephanie Yang and Alison Sider: "Oil prices are headed toward $70 a barrel, a weight on the U.S. economy that is bearable for now but could pose trouble if prices keep climbing." Read more here.

ARCTIC INVADERS — The Guardian's Oliver Milman: "Last July, Nagruk Harcharek was savouring a bucolic visit to a cabin that sits on the lip of the Chipp river, deep in the Alaskan Arctic, when something caught his eye. Shimmering on a rack where he hangs his caught whitefish to dry was, astonishingly, a dragonfly. ... As the Arctic heats up, at around twice the rate of the global average, its remote but hardy communities are experiencing first contact with species that are flying, scurrying and swimming northwards." Read more here.

To view online:
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-energy/2018/04/23/cuomos-new-efficiency-target-056893

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