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By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman
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THE WELL WORN STORM RESPONSE — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: In a day of strident assurances, dire warnings and near total uncertainty, elected leaders and emergency officials in New York and New Jersey sought to reassure, but at the same time sufficiently prepare their states for any potential impacts of Hurricane Joaquin. Forecasters remained somewhat uncertain Thursday evening as to Joaquin's exact path as it gathered strength near the Bahamas, developing into a Category 4 storm with wind speeds of 130 mph. What forecasters are examining now is whether Joaquin will collide with a low pressure system forming over the East Coast. Under that scenario, which appears increasingly unlikely, the storm would remain closer to the coast, possibly coming ashore anywhere from the Carolinas to Long Island. What seems more likely, based on the latest projections, is that Joaquin eventually turns eastward and heads out to sea. But until they can be sure, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday performed what's become an all-too-familiar ritual of preparing the public for the worst, while at the same time urging calm. http://politi.co/1PR1cyb
GE DAYS AWAY FROM COMPLETING HUDSON DREDGING — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: General Electric has completed its dredging of the Hudson River for PCBs that the company dumped into the river for decades. The company removed 2.76 million cubic yards of PCB-tainted river dredge, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday. About 310,000 pounds of PCBs were removed during the $2 billion, six-year project, according to the EPA, which oversaw the project. “This project is the most extensive dredging project undertaken in the nation, and its success is a historic achievement for the recovery of the Hudson River,” EPA spokeswoman Mary Mears said in a statement. http://politi.co/1hf2CGF
SUPPORT FOR NYSERDA REVIEW OF LAND TRANSFER — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A coalition of good government groups is calling on the board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to review plans for a $1 land transfer to SUNY Polytechnic Institute. That proposed deal was tabled last week after a NYSERDA board member questioned the deal. This week, SUNY Poly attacked him, calling him "misguided" and accusing him of "ignorance." http://politi.co/1M4zUk9
AROUND NEW YORK:
--NYC landlord has to pay $151K after violating oil spill prevention laws, the Daily News reports. http://nydn.us/1KYUim9
--A 24-acre solar farm may be built near Syracuse. http://bit.ly/1Vsz45X
--Long Island fishermen said a state Inspector General’s report did not address key concerns and took too long to complete. http://nwsdy.li/1Obu3Q5
--The Shinnecock nation on Long Island received a grant from the Obama administration to build solar panels. http://nwsdy.li/1LVdAOg
--The Investigative Post details what it’s like behind the scenes when the Cuomo administration doesn’t like your reporting on SolarCity. http://bit.ly/1N6yhs1
--Today in NYC: Elon Musk and Lyndon Rive of SolarCity fame make an announcement at 11 a.m. during a conference at 4 Times Square. http://insideenergy.solarcity.com/
--Meanwhile across town, the Urban Green Council hosts a building energy conference at Bloomberg LP, starting at noon. http://bit.ly/1Rj78kq
--Buffalo residents will see their lowest winter heating bills in more than 20 years because of fracking. http://bit.ly/1QOmeh4
HELLO FRIDAY: Please let us know if you have stories, ideas, complaints or even if you're just lonely. We're always here at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB
WEALTHIER LA NEIGHBORHOODS USE FAR MORE ENERGY THAN POOR — Los Angeles Times’ Abby Sewell: “Wealthier neighborhoods use far more energy per capita than their low-income counterparts, but the biggest energy users overall in Los Angeles County are commercial and industrial businesses. Those are among the findings of a new analysis of energy consumption that provides the most detailed map of electricity use in the region to date. UCLA's California Center for Sustainable Communities used data from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and other municipal and private utility companies for the period from 2006 to 2010. The resulting online Energy Atlas site breaks down the data by city and neighborhood and includes information on electricity usage by different types of buildings. Public officials say the data could help them develop more targeted and effective conservation programs that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” http://lat.ms/1L78kXd
OZONE RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED — The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder: “Environmental regulators significantly lowered a national limit for a smog-causing pollutant Thursday, in an attempted compromise that left some businesses relieved and environmental and health leaders upset the initiative wasn’t stronger. The Environmental Protection Agency set a limit of 70 parts per billion for ground-level ozone, which is created by emissions released into the air by manufacturing plants, utilities and vehicles, down from the current level of 75 parts per billion. In a draft released in 2014, the agency proposed a standard between 65 and 70 parts per billion.” http://on.wsj.com/1KYSSb8
--Vox’s Brad Plumer: “The lobbying battle over smog has been one of the most bitter environmental fights of the Obama era. Public health advocates have long argued that US cities still contain dangerous levels of smog, a leading cause of respiratory illness for millions of Americans, and have pushed to tighten existing rules. Industry groups, meanwhile, have been adamant that doing so would be exorbitantly expensive. On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency finally weighed in, setting brand-new standards on ground-level ozone pollution, the key ingredient in smog. And the Obama administration appears to have largely sided with industry on this. They've tightened the ozone standard moderately, but not nearly as much as environmentalists and some health experts were calling for.” http://bit.ly/1iP9Dz2
KEYSTONE ADVOCATES POINT FINGER FOR REJECTION — Bloomberg’s Josh Wingrove and Rebecca Penty: “A longtime Canadian advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline is blaming his former boss, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, for dropping the ball on the project and handing U.S. President Barack Obama a blank check to reject it. The rift is the latest finger-pointing in Canada over TransCanada Corp.’s project, once called a “no brainer” by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper but delayed for years amid environmental opposition. Rob Merrifield, Alberta’s outgoing envoy in Washington, said Wednesday he expects Obama to reject Keystone “shortly” and took aim at Notley for not advocating amid opposition from Hillary Clinton and others.” http://bloom.bg/1iNPcTc
EU COAL DROPS — Bloomberg’s Mathew Carr: “European coal had its worst quarterly performance since 2008 as nations favor less-polluting fuel for electricity generation. Northwest European coal for 2016 dropped 1 percent to a record $48.40 a metric ton Wednesday, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s fallen 20 percent since June 30, the biggest quarterly decline for a front-year contract since Dec. 31, 2008. China, which consumes more than half of the world’s coal, is seeking to cut its share of the fuel in its energy mix to 62 percent by 2020 from about 66 percent now, leading it to slash domestic output by 4.8 percent and imports by 31 percent in the first eight months of this year. In the U.S., the second-largest user, natural gas in July overtook coal as the primary fuel in power generation for only the second time on record.” http://bloom.bg/1N5Droi
WIND GROWTH SLOW — Climate Central’s Bobby Magill: “The United States’ first offshore wind farm is now being built off the coast of Rhode Island. But the U.S. may be farther from large-scale offshore wind development than it was a decade ago partly because the federal government has not focused urgently enough on building renewables, a group of University of Delaware scientists says. The government, through its offshore wind leasing program, is promoting offshore turbines for job growth and economic development rather than harnessing their most effective long-term potential — to tackle climate change, the scientists at the University of Delaware’s Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration wrote in a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” http://bit.ly/1WAnNTw
BURR BLOCKING TOXICS BILL — POLITICO’s Darren Goode: “Sen. Richard Burr's yearlong push to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund is the last big obstacle to a bill that would overhaul federal oversight of dangerous chemicals from coming to the Senate floor early next week, according to sources closely following the talks. Burr is a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill from Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) to update the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, which is backed by more than half the Senate and has the official blessing of both parties. But the North Carolina Republican is effectively holding up efforts to quickly bring the measure to the floor under a unanimous consent agreement while he seeks a vote on an amendment permanently reauthorizing LWCF, which expired Wednesday. ‘My understanding is that there are one or more unrelated holds in which people are trying to use the prospect of the TSCA bill moving in which to leverage to try to do something unrelated and that there is an effort being made to try to clear those holds,’ Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told POLITICO.” http://politico.pro/1Rj8coy
INDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE PLANS — The New York Times’ Ellen Barry and Coral Davenport: “Under growing pressure to join in an international accord to battle climate change, India on Thursday announced its long-term plan to lower its rate of planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution and to aggressively ramp up its production of solar, hydropower and wind energy.
India, the world’s third-largest carbon polluter, was the last major country to issue its plan before a major summit meeting in Paris in December aimed at forging a sweeping new accord that would for the first time commit every country on earth to enacting new policies to cut fossil fuel emissions. At the heart of the Paris deal will be the plans put forth by each government detailing how it will help its economy make a transition to low-carbon energy sources.” http://nyti.ms/1hf2BCD
AN ENVIRONMENT STORY: Our colleague at POLITICO Florida, Marc Caputo, reports of dissension in that state’s Libertarian Party race for U.S. Senate as candidate Augustus Invictus stands accused of dismembering a goat and supporting eugenics. Invictus’ ascension as the party’s nominee to replace Sen. Marco Rubio prompted the resignation of party chair Adrian Wyllie. A former member of the pagan religious group Ordo Templi Orientis, Invictus responded to the accusation saying, “I have never dismembered a goat in my life. I have performed animal sacrifices as part of my religion … I was expelled from the order for political reasons. And animal sacrifice was part of it. But that is a deliberate misrepresentation by Wyllie.” And while Halloween is just around the corner, we assure you this is a true story. http://politi.co/1Rj7Myn
--Too bad about Joaquin: As a milder hurricane begins to take shape, oil prices suffered, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled down 35 cents, or 0.8%, at $44.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, settled down 68 cents, or 1.4%, at $47.69 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.” http://on.wsj.com/1Rj9sYA
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