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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign: Legislators vs. Cayuga; DPS cuts Long Island rate hike

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! Only POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York energy policy news throughout the day, please contact us at and we'll set you up for trial access. We’ll send the same newsletter to non-Pro subscribers at 10 a.m. Thank you for reading.

THE FIGHT FOR CAYUGA—POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: A new report released Sunday night by a clean-energy think tank says it would be a mistake to repower the Cayuga power plant and the ratepayers of the greater Ithaca area would be best served putting the 60-year-old, coal-burning plant out to pasture. The report comes days after a group of state legislators came to much the same conclusion in a letter to the state Public Service Commission; and after years during which environmental groups and local leaders have been urging state regulators to close Cayuga down. Owners of the 312-megawatt facility, housed on the eastern banks of the Cayuga Lake in Lansing, have been in talks with the state for at least three years on a "repowering plan" that would install natural-gas burning infrastructure and maintain at least 30 jobs currently associated with the coal plant. Owners of the plant argue the repowering is crucial both for power reliability and the local economy.

DPS TRIMS PSEG’S SAILS—David Giambusso: A group of state energy officials has recommended that PSEG Long Island slash its proposed rate increase by more than 25 percent, a draft filing issued by the Department of Public Service Friday afternoon shows. The recommendation comes after months of hand-wringing and public testimony over the proposed rate hike, in the first official rate case on Long Island in 20 years. In January, PSEG L.I., the utility contracted by the Long Island Power Authority to run the region's power grid, proposed a cumulative, $441 million increase over the course of three years. But after poring through thousands of comments and more than 1,500 pages of testimony form all parties in the case, the DPS officials on Friday recommended that PSEG L.I. should only require a revenue increase of $324 million over the course of three years, a 26-percent increase from what the utility originally proposed.

BRONX BLAST RESULT OF A MATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio said a construction worker who lit a match to test a gas line was likely responsible for a blast that tore through three floors of JFK High School in the Bronx on Thursday night. "It certainly suggests an error," the mayor said in an interiew on NY1 Friday afternoon.

**A message from Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign: If New York is serious about tackling climate change, than we can no longer afford to keep fossil fuels on life support; having paid $4 million a month since 2013 to keep the uneconomical Cayuga coal-fired plant limping along, electricity bill payers shouldn’t be placed on the hook for $145 million more. Tell Governor Cuomo and his Public Service Commission to stop the Cayuga coal plant bail out. Click here to stop the Cayuga bailout.**


--Don’t miss “Jamaica Bay Lives,” about the fight to revitalize the long-suffering waterway.

--The city of Glens Falls may ban the plastic bag.

--Stay out of the scum on Lake Erie.

--The Journal News’ Phil Reisman on Indian Point’s campaign to win over local residents.

--Where do New York’s politicians go to voice their opinions on the controversial Iran nuclear deal? Medium.

--Could waterless fracking be exempt from the state fracking ban? Advocates say yes.

HAPPY MONDAY! Or at least passable Monday. Please let us know if you have stories, ideas, complaints or even if you're just lonely. 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:

REID SUPPORTS IRAN DEAL—The Washington Post’s Paul Kane: “Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid gave a forceful endorsement Sunday to the nuclear deal with Iran, a key boost that provides continued momentum for preventing Congress from blocking President Obama’s pact. The Nevada Democrat said the deal, which lifts economic sanctions against the rogue nation for pledges to limit its nuclear program, is the “best way” to curtail Iran’s military ambitions, and he pledged to round up more support to thwart its opponents. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the deal stands,” he said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post from his home in Henderson, Nev., where he has been calling friends to tell them of his decision.”

CHRISTIE’S ROLE IN DUPONT POLLUTION: Sharon Lerner has published a series for the Intercept detailing how DuPont Chemicals allowed C8, a carcinogen used to make Teflon, into the New Jersey’s drinking water at dangerous levels. In the most recent chapter Lerner writes that Gov. Chris Christie not only failed to regulate the pollution but made it easier for DuPont to get away with it.

“In September 2010, the Drinking Water Quality Institute began to move forward with the .04 water standard, nine months after Chris Christie became of governor of New Jersey. Christie had made it clear, with his ‘red tape commission’ and pro-business executive orders, that he was unlikely to pass new regulations. But the Christie administration went even further; not only did it apparently block the proposed standard, it also effectively disbanded the water quality group. Although the institute and its committees had met nearly 50 times in the five years prior, after the September 2010 meeting the group did not convene again for almost four years. Meanwhile, the New Jersey DEP had created a new body called the Science Advisory Board, to advise on a number of environmental issues, including water quality. In 2011, three DuPont scientists, each of whom have worked on C8, were appointed to the board.”

LET THEM RIDE TESLAS—The Los Angeles Times: “Hundreds of Californians with household incomes of $500,000 or more have collected state subsidies for buying electric and hybrid cars under a program that is criticized as a taxpayer handout to the wealthy. State regulators, in response, plan to restrict the subsidies to Californians who earn less than $250,000 or couples taking in less than $500,000. But that standard is also under fire from some lawmakers and anti-tax activists, who ask why subsidies worth up to $5,000 are given to people who can already afford the cars. "The state should not be diverting … taxes on low-income and middle-class families to benefit wealthy drivers," said Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of San Dimas. Money for the subsidies comes from a surcharge on vehicle registration fees and a portion of the smog fee paid by California motorists. There were no income limits for the subsidy when the program was enacted in 2010.”

NY TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD VS. MICROBEADS: “Plastic is believed to be the main contaminant in the huge garbage gyres that pollute the oceans. Now researchers, led by Sherri Mason of the State University of New York at Fredonia, have found a stunning amount of plastic in the largest freshwater ecosystem on earth, the Great Lakes. And an increasing amount of it consists of the tiny plastic orbs used as abrasives in products like toothpaste and anti-acne lotions. The particles are called microbeads, and consumers can avoid them by checking to see if plastic — maybe polyethylene or polypropylene — is on the product’s ingredient list. Once these virtually indestructible beads enter the water, they attract toxic substances, like PCBs. They become part of the aquatic food chain, soon eaten by fish and then, too often, by humans.”

BOEHNER WANTS TO LIFT OIL EXPORT BAN—GOP House Speaker John Boehner for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “United States recently overtook Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's leading oil and natural gas producer. This is a big achievement, especially when you consider that just a decade ago, our energy future looked murky. We were importing most of the oil we consumed; we were building terminals to import natural gas. Congress even passed a law in 2006 to move the country toward other sources of energy. Republicans didn't give up, though. We included a provision in that same law — the Energy Policy Act — which recognized that the states were doing a good job regulating the process of hydraulic fracturing. We saw that Washington didn't need to dictate how things were done or get involved at all.

Ten years later, this one provision has helped unleash a national energy boom that has created countless jobs and a manufacturing revolution. How extensive is this boom? It is the most rapid increase in oil and natural gas production in American history. Job growth in the oil and gas industry has far outpaced the economy as a whole. Across the country, gasoline prices continue to fall by the day. And if trends hold, it could soon become cheaper to make things here than in China.”

BALD EAGLE VS. WIND INDUSTRY—Opinion by Robert Bryce in the Wall Street Journal: “Chalk one up for the bald eagle. The avian symbol of American freedom has beaten the Obama administration and the wind industry in court, though the majestic birds still don’t stand a chance when flying near the subsidy-fueled blades of green-energy production. On Aug. 11, a federal judge in the Northern District of California shot down a rule proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that would have allowed the wind industry to legally kill bald eagles and golden eagles for up to three decades.”

INDIA TO GET WORLD’S LARGEST SOLAR FARM—India Times: “Madhya Pradesh will house world's largest 750 Mega Watts(MW) solar power station in Rewa district, state's energy minister Rajendra Shukla said today. "Global tenders for commissioning the solar power station in an area over 1,500 hectares at Bandwar region in Gudh tehsil of Rewa, will be invited shortly," Shukla told PTI. He said that if all goes well, the plant will start generating solar energy by March 2017.”

CALIFORNIA’S RENEWABLE PUSH—CALMatters Kate Galbraith: “At a Pacific Gas and Electric power plant east of San Francisco, greenhouse gases flow from a stack as the air shimmers from heat, with no dirty cloud of pollution in sight. In the distance, wind turbines spin slowly under a cloudy sky. And nearby in the city of Antioch, local schools are celebrating the addition of solar panels to their roofs and parking structures. “If you look around, it’s really clean,” said Ben Stanley, PG&E’s plant manager, as he showed how the gas facility makes electricity for northern California. The state’s electric power sources are poised to get cleaner still. In 15 years, electric utilities that power California’s lights and cellphones would need to get fully half their electricity from renewable sources, if Senate Bill 350, which is working its way through the Legislature, passes. The goal, often called a renewable portfolio standard, can almost certainly be met, though it will require utilities to make behind-the-scenes adjustments as they juggle different types of energy.”

HAMM’S EX WIFE SAYS HE GOT TAKEN, SUES—The Associated Press: “The former wife of billionaire Oklahoma energy tycoon Harold Hamm, who was awarded nearly $1 billion in a divorce settlement, is suing Mr. Hamm over the sale of a company the two co-owned. The lawsuit by Sue Ann Arnall alleges the $4.5 million sale in 2005 of the parent company and sole shareholder of Jolette Oil LLC to Continental Resources Inc. was below market value. It asks for damages in excess of $10,000.”

IRAN WANTS TO UP CRUDE SHARE—Bloomberg’s Anthony Dipaola and Hashem Kalantari: “Iran plans to raise oil production ‘at any cost’ to defend the country’s market share and joins calls for an emergency OPEC meeting to help shore up crude prices. ‘We will be raising our oil production at any cost and we have no other alternative,’ said Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, according to his ministry’s news website Shana. ‘If Iran’s oil production hike is not done promptly, we will be losing our market share permanently.’ Iran had the second-biggest output in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries before U.S.-led sanctions banning the purchase, transport, finance and insuring of its crude began July 2012. Oil producers such as BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have expressed interest in developing its reserves, the world’s fourth-biggest, once sanctions are removed.”

RENEWABLE PUSH NEEDED TO MEET OBAMA GOALS—Opinion by Daniel Yergen for the Wall Street Journal: “Energy innovation and energy “transition” are today’s hot topics. President Barack Obama aims to have 20% of U.S. electricity come from wind and solar by 2030. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has gone one better: A few weeks ago, she pledgedthat, within 10 years of her taking office, there would be enough renewable electricity to power every home in America. That would certainly be a sprint, given that wind and solar now account for less than 6% of our electricity. Some are more cautious about such prospects. Bill Gates recently committed $2 billion to “breakthrough” energy innovation because he is convinced that current technologies can reduce carbon-dioxide emissions—and the human contribution to climate change—only at costs that he has called ‘beyond astronomical.’”

DON’T TOUCH THE OIL STOCKS (YET)—Liam Denning writes in the Wall Street Journal: “A roughly 30% drop in the oil price since June naturally has both bulls and bears making pitches. For example, hedge funds have adopted an unusually short position in oil futures, signaling expectations of further declines, according to Ole Hansen at Saxo Bank. Yet more than $1 billion has flowed into energy exchange-traded funds over the past month, suggesting other institutions and retail investors think the collapse is overdone.”


--Crude is in free fall: U.S. crude dipped below $40 a barrel on Friday as investors see no end to cheap oil. In early trading Sunday night Brent dropped below $45 a barrel.

“The benchmark U.S. oil price tumbled as low as $39.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures price later pared losses to finish at $40.45 a barrel, down 2.1%, or 87 cents, on the day. Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell $1.16, or 2.5%, to $45.46 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

**A message from Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign: The Public Service Commission has already approved millions of dollars to prop up the dirty, outdated Cayuga coal-fired power plant. Now they are considering spending $145 million more of our hard-earned money to let this plant continue polluting New York’s air and water. For a fraction of this amount we can make sure that the region has reliable power while workers and communities are protected through the transition to modern, clean energy sources. With the increasing cost of coal and a shrinking industry, the time for change in New York is now. Tell Governor Cuomo that we need to stop bailing out coal plants and take the steps needed to lead the renewable energy transition. Your comments are a key part of making it clear: New Yorkers know that it’s time to act on climate and we can start by ending the bail out of coal right here in our state. Click here to tell Governor Cuomo to stop the coal bailouts and support renewable energy.**

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