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POLITICO New York Energy: The 50 by 30 dilemma; Adirondacks threatened by staffing woes

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.

INDUSTRY BEMOANS STATE RENEWABLE GOALS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: New York's private generators and utilities are routinely at odds when it comes to renewable energy and who should own it, but one thing on which they both agree is that the state's goals are going to be hard, if not impossible to meet. In a recently announced and much lauded state energy plan, New York called for 50 percent of its energy use to be derived from renewable energy. The people responsible for generating and delivering that energy applaud the goal, promise to aim for it, but at the same time say it is likely unreachable in the time frame set out by the state. Currently, 25 percent of the state's energy is drawn from renewable sources, but 20 percent is hydropower generated upstate — that renewable energy is about a hundred years old. Only five percent is derived from newer wind and solar technology, meaning the state will have to quintuple that capacity within the next 15 years.

STATE COULD MOVE SOON ON TRANSMISSION LINES — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The Cuomo administration will make decisions on its major energy policy issues by the end of the year, the chairwoman of the Public Service Commission said Wednesday. A plan to run more alternating current transmission lines down the Hudson Valley has been on the table for years and is a major component of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy highway project. Perhaps the most contentious project in his initiative to build a better energy grid, the Hudson Valley part of the energy highway project has been stalled for some time. A decision by the PSC to move forward, or to stop it outright, could signal a willingness by the administration finally to move forward.

REPORT: ADIRONDACK PARK THREATENED BY STAFFING WOES, DEVELOPMENT — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The future of the Adirondack Park will depend on key Cuomo administration initiatives, according to one of its most prominent advocacy groups. The Adirondacks are at risk from encroaching housing developments and understaffed state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency, the Adirondack Council said in its annual report on the state of the park. The biggest challenges facing the park include a plan to store oil trains within it, pressure to roll back “forever wild” protections and a push to allow more motorized recreation vehicles in formerly restricted parts of the park, the report said.”


--E-waste of time: Staten Islanders, known the world over for their love of both City Hall and traffic jams, were yet displeased at having to wait hours in line to throw away their electronic waste when a city pick-up facility was overwhelmed by turnout. Anna Sanders of the Staten Island advance reports.

--Operators of the Ginna nuclear facility have reached a deal to keep it operating.

--NYISO named a new CEO.

--Solar developers on Long Island were met with mostly support Wednesday, Newsday’s Mark Harrington reports. Invenergy is building Long Island’s largest, private-land solar array.

--Pipelines opponents are holding an informational meeting in Albany about a proposed line through the region.

--The Albany Times Union’s Chris Churchill weighs in on the proposed microbead ban.

--Gas prices are continuing to decline in Albany.

--Mr. Purple, an unheralded environmentalist in New York’s Lower East Side who was ahead of his time, has died at 84.

HELLO THURSDAY: 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:

EXXON RESEARCHED CLIMATE CHANGE DECADES AGO: InsideClimate News has uncovered documents, memos and budgets indicating Exxon was aware of potential effects of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming in the late 1970s and actually conducted extensive research on the subject. Then, in the 1980’s, the fossil fuel giant began an aggressive “denial” campaign. “The company launched its own extraordinary research into carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and its impact on the earth. Exxon's ambitious program included both empirical CO2 sampling and rigorous climate modeling. It assembled a brain trust that would spend more than a decade deepening the company's understanding of an environmental problem that posed an existential threat to the oil business. Then, toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial. It put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed. It lobbied to block federal and international action to control greenhouse gas emissions. It helped to erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day.”

BIDEN TO GOP: GET OUT OF THE WAY — The Associated Press: “Taking aim at his potential political opponents, Vice President Joe Biden railed Wednesday against Republicans who 'deny climate change' and want to shut down the federal government over funding for Planned Parenthood, and pleaded with them to 'just get out of the way.' Biden came to California, a national leader on clean energy, to tout solar technology and ramp up pressure on the U.S. and other nations as the Obama administration presses for a successful finish to global climate talks. Yet his visit was infused with 2016 overtones, and he playfully mocked Republicans who reject mainstream climate science that says humans are contributing to warmer temperatures. 'I think if you pushed them, they'd probably deny gravity as well,' Biden said.”

THE WHALES WIN — The Washington Post: “In the 75 years since the Navy started conducting war games in a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean between the Hawaiian and California coasts, conservationists have often sought to restrict its use of bombs and sonar that harms marine mammals. Each time, the military branch blew the activists away, arguing that what’s good for the Navy is best for America ... As a result of the negotiation with two plaintiffs, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Navy will now respect buffer zones around whale and dolphin habitat off both coasts at times when the animals congregate to forage, mate and raise calves.”

NUCLEAR TO GROW BY ALMOST HALF IN 20 YEARS — Climate Central: “Global nuclear power generation capacity could increase by more than 45 percent in the next 20 years but the pace of growth will still fall short of what is needed to curb climate change, an industry organization report showed this week. The World Nuclear Association Nuclear Fuel report forecasts global nuclear capacity will grow to 552 gigawatts equivalent (GWe) by 2035 from 379 GWe currently, as many countries build new plants as a lower-carbon option and for energy security. The International Energy Agency has estimated that nuclear capacity needs to reach 660 GWe in 2030 and more than 900 GWe by 2050 to help keep a rise in global temperatures within 2°C this century, a threshold scientists say should avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

TWEET OF THE DAY (DEBATE EDITION) — From Downtown Josh Brown @reformedbroker “GOP Climate Policy: Jeb: clean coal Rubio: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Huckabee: Ark”

GETTING WARMER — Climate Central: “August continued the parade of months in 2015 at or near the top of the temperature rankings, according to NASA records, further upping the odds that the year as a whole will be the warmest on record, beating out 2014. The year’s potentially chart-topping heat has been driven in part by an El Niño that could rival the strongest on record, but it is also something that is more likely to happen now thanks to the steady accumulation of heat in the atmosphere trapped by greenhouse gases”.

REPLACING CRUDE OIL WITH ORANGE JUICE — Business Insider’s Mark Hutchby: “Orange juice, both delicious and nutritious, is enjoyed by millions of people across the world every day. However, new research indicates that it could have potential far beyond the breakfast table. The chemicals in orange peel could be used as new building blocks in products ranging from plastics to paracetamol — helping to break our reliance on crude oil. Today’s society is totally reliant on the chemicals and materials that are obtained from our diminishing supply of fossil fuels. As such, there is an increasing global focus on the development of renewable chemical feedstocks from a variety of sustainable sources such as sugarcane and fatty acids in the production of biofuels. And the chemically rich essential oils contained within waste citrus peels are another such source that is being investigated with real zest.”

FRACKING EFFECT ON WATER RESOURCES — Reuters: “Fracking by the U.S. oil and gas industry has increased the burden on the nation's water resources, but still accounts for less than 1 percent of America's total industrial water use, according to a paper by researchers at Duke University published on Tuesday. The controversial extraction method consumed roughly 48 billion gallons of water per year from 2012 to 2014, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, roughly the same amount that flows over Niagara Falls in 18 hours. The industry produced about the same amount of wastewater over that period, according to the study, titled ‘Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing.’”

DOES CRUDE BAN MATTER ANYMORE? — The Washington Post’s Steven Mufson and Mike Debonis: “Is the four-decade-old ban on U.S. exports of crude oil a useless relic or a valuable safeguard for American consumers? Or is the ban so full of holes that it doesn’t matter anymore? A House bill that would end the ban is set to pass the Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said this week that the legislation could soon come to the floor. “If there was ever a time to lift the oil export ban, it’s now,” he said in remarks prepared for delivery to a civic group in Houston. ‘Lifting the oil export ban will not only help our economy, it will also bolster our geopolitical standing.’ He added that ‘as President Obama prepares to lift sanctions on Iran, including Iranian oil, it is unfathomable to think American crude wouldn’t have the same opportunity on the global market.’”


--Oil pops: Lower than expected stockpiles helped cushion oil prices Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for October delivery settled up $2.56, or 5.7%, to $47.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, gained $2.00, or 4.2%, to $49.75 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

--Natural gas says goodbye for the summer: Autumn winds cooled natural gas futures, the Journal reports.

“The front-month October contract settled down 6.8 cents, or 2.5%, at $2.66 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

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