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By Danielle Muoio and Marie J. French | 08/03/2018 10:03 AM EDT
HIGH MARKS FOR LAWMAKERS — POLITICO's Marie J. French: A nonpartisan environmental group is giving high marks to many lawmakers despite the lack of movement on some major green priorities and a relatively disappointing session. The New York League of Conservation Voters released its annual scorecard for state legislators on Friday, ranking them based on their votes on key bills or co-sponsorship of measures that didn't make it to the floor. The scores were based on some measures that didn't pass, including a plastic bag ban and fee, prohibition of offshore drilling, a paint disposal program and limits on commercial fishing of bunker. Measures that were sent to the governor included those for working farm promotion, drug disposal and pollinator-friendly solar standards. "There are a number of things that, even in a lackluster session, should have moved," said Marcia Bystryn, the group's executive director. She attributed the lack of progress on some less-controversial items to a wait-and-see approach among some Assembly Democrats. Read more here.
MARYLAND GOV SLAMS NEW YORK — Baltimore Sun's Michael Dresser and Scott Dance: "Gov. Larry Hogan set off a testy interstate exchange Wednesday as he decried a recent surge of debris and sediment flowing into the Chesapeake Bay after last month's heavy rainstorms and charged that upstream states are failing to do their part to curb pollution. Hogan promised to raise the issue next week when he meets with governors from other states in the bay's watershed and with officials of the federal Environmental Protection Administration. 'The upstream states — Pennsylvania and New York — need to step up and take responsibility for the debris and sediment that is pouring into our bay,' the Republican governor said." Read more here.
GREENS CRY FOUL ON PENSION OFFICIAL'S NEW JOB: Environmental groups, particularly those pushing for the divestment of fossil fuels from public pension funds, say the recent departure of a top official from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's team for a job at a pipeline company raises concerns. Vicki Fuller, the former chief investment officer for the state's pension fund, took a position as a director on the board of Williams Co., a publicly traded company that is backing some pipelines in New York. The state pension fund does have investments in the company, primarily in index funds. "The Fund remains committed to its work on climate change and its leadership in (environmental social governance)," spokesman Matt Sweeney said in a statement. "The Fund's interim-CIO continues to pursue its policy of aggressively assessing and addressing climate risks through investments and through engagement with portfolio companies." Read the letter from environmental groups here.
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AROUND NEW YORK:
— Environmental groups announced the release of the Hudson River Comprehensive Restoration Plan, which recommends project opportunities to enhance and secure the future of the river
— CHARTER WATCH: State Sen. Rob Ortt raised concerns about how the PSC actions will impact rural residents of western New York who are still waiting on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fill his broadband promise. The striking workers of Charter/Spectrum in New York City remain in limbo, a labor publication reports. The Buffalo News says the company needs to be conciliatory and resolve the situation, not head to the courts. In the first sign of the company's strategy, Charter announced it would stop running ads that the PSC has called deceptive.
— The private sanitation truck that was involved in a fatal accident on Wednesday is owned by Century Waste, a New Jersey company that has repeatedly been cited for safety violations.
— An unidentified green discoloration on much of Owasco Lake seen earlier this week is not a harmful algal bloom, the DEC said Wednesday.
— New York's muggy conditions on Wednesday sent wholesale power to a four-year high.
— Suffolk County has authorized using $1 million in water protection funds to build what's known as a fish ladder to help alewives, eels and blueback herring swim upstream.
— Putnam county residents should beware of a scam that involves phony calls from NYSEG.
— Twenty percent of New York is still in a drought, despite heavy rain over the last week.
ACROSS THE RIVER:
— New Jersey officials are fighting the Trump administration's proposed rollback of car emission standards.
— ICYMI: The Bayonne Energy Center, which powers New York City, is set to be sold for $900 million.
— Here's a closer look at the polluted sites that are targeted in the lawsuits filed by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
TRUMP DONOR TIED TO NUKE PUSH — The Wall Street Journal's Michael Rothfeld, Rebecca Ballhaus and Joe Palazzolo: "A major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president's then-personal attorney if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter. The donor, Franklin L. Haney, gave the contract to Trump attorney Michael Cohen in early April to assist his efforts to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama, known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, these people said." Read more here.
CALIFORNIA CAR WARS — POLITICO's Alex Guillén: Donald Trump has declared an energy war on California. The administration on Thursday proposed freezing the vehicle fuel efficiency standards sought by the Obama administration and moved to end California's power to enforce its own rules, setting off a legal fight that could create a schism among red and blue states over the pollution regulations for new cars and pickups. Read more here.
— "Can we improve fuel economy without sacrificing vehicle safety? That's one contentious issue at the center of the debate over federal fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks," reports The New York Times . "The Obama administration concluded the answer was yes and issued strict rules in 2012 that would have required automakers to roughly double the fuel economy of new cars, S.U.V.s and pickup trucks by 2025. But the Trump administration, in its big new proposal to roll back those rules, is now arguing the opposite: Forcing automakers to build cleaner cars will lead to more highway accidents and deaths."
— California, besieged by wildfires, is having no part of the proposed rollback.
HEAT WAVE TESTS THE GRIDS — UtilityDive's Robert Walton: "The increasingly renewables-reliant grid passed a major stress test last month when the heat wave that settled over parts of the country sent grid operators scrambling for electricity supplies and customer conservation. On the whole, there were few major interruptions." Read more here.
TIMELINE: CHICAGO RIVER RECOVERS — The New York Times' Julie Bosman: A historical look at the recovery of one of the nation's most polluted waterways.
CALI'S PG&E MULLS RESTRUCTURING — Reuters' Jessica DiNapoli and Lianna B. Baker: "PG&E Corp has hired law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP to explore debt restructuring options, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as California's biggest utility grapples with liabilities stemming from last year's wildfires in the state that analysts estimate could exceed $8 billion." Read more here.
PACIFICORP TRANSITION ACCELERATES — UtilityDive's Herman Trabish: "New data adds to the growing evidence that new renewables are a better buy for utilities than old coal. The generation from 11 PacifiCorp coal plants costs more than it would for the utility to buy power in energy markets. The generation, on a net present value (NPV) basis, from 12 of PacifiCorp's coal units costs more than the NPV for solar PV power purchase agreements (PPAs). And wind PPAs beat the generation from 20 PacifiCorp coal plants. These are conclusions from a June 20 Energy Strategies study for Sierra Club, which used data from the utility's own 2017 reports to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)." Read more here.https://subscriber.politicopro.com/settings
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