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POLITICO New York Energy: Solar firm to bring 1,000 jobs; Cuomo redirects Buffalo Billion questions

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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SOLAR FACILITY TO BRING 1,000 JOBS TO UPSTATE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A solar manufacturing facility to be located in Batavia, about 40 miles west of Rochester, will bring in more than 1,000 jobs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday. Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies, which develops and manufactures silicon wafers used solar panels, will be located in Genesee County. The company will invest $700 million and the state will provide $56.3 million in taxpayer money as well as other incentives, including 8.5 megawatts of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority.

CUOMO: ‘NO REASON’ TO QUESTION BUFFALO BILLION CONTRACTING — POLITICO New York’s Jimmy Vielkind: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he has no reason to question the way contracts were awarded for a solar panel factory in Buffalo that is being built with state funds, despite an ongoing probe by federal prosecutors. The Democratic governor told reporters after an event to promote his support for breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries that he has not been subpoenaed in connection with the probe.

CUOMO: FEDS NEED TO PUSH GE ON HUDSON DREDGING — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday it's up to the federal government to push General Electric to fully clean up the Hudson River. GE finished its six-year, $2 billion effort to dredge the Hudson River earlier this week. The company removed about 300,000 pounds of PCBs it dumped into the river for three decades, but that is only about two-thirds of the total amount it dumped. Elected officials, municipalities along the river and environmental groups have all called on Cuomo, who is trying to get GE to move its headquarters to New York, to pressure GE to continue the dredging. The Environmental Protection Agency considers the project a success, and its officials have repeatedly said they can't force GE to do additional work outside the scope of their initial cleanup agreement. On Wednesday, at a summit in Albany to celebrate his efforts to boost the state’s beer and wine industry, Cuomo deferred to the federal government on any possible further action.


--REV explained: Vox explains REV and the challenges to utilities.

--Cuomo will make an announcement with Al Gore today at Columbia University at 2:30 p.m.

--Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday signed legislation that will require businesses to keep their doors closed while air conditioning is running. The new law will apply to nearly all storefronts in the city.

--Buffalo Bills owner and fracking billionaire Terry Pegula said it was “ironic” that his wealth allowed him to buy a football team in a state that has banned his industry.

--EPA administrator Judith Enck said it’s “premature” to swim in Onondaga Lake.

--A blast that killed two in Brooklyn may not have been because of a stove replacement, as was originally thought, the Wall Street Journal reports.

--Sky High Farm in Columbia County gives everything it grows to food banks in New York City.

--National Grid gas bills will decrease just 2 percent this year, despite larger drops predicted elsewhere.

--A company that makes LED lights for rough conditions moved to the Albany area.

--There is now a petition drive to shut down FitzPatrick nuclear facility.

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SHIPPING INDUSTRY SUPPORT TO HELP LIFT OIL EXPORT BAN — Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder: “House Republican leaders have added a sweetener to legislation to lift the 40-year-old ban on oil exports: a boost in Pentagon payments to the shipping industry of more than $500 million over the next five years. The provision, added by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.), would authorize the Defense Department to boost payments to shipping companies, including Maersk Line Ltd., and American President Lines Ltd. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Friday.”

OIL PRODUCTION SINKING — Bloomberg’s Rakteem Katakey: “A year after oil sank into a bear market, the industry is still hunkering down for a long period of low prices, with Europe’s biggest producer seeing only the first glimpses of a recovery. In the past five months, U.S. production sank by 590,000 barrels a day, or more than 6 percent. The bad news: Drillers are cutting costs with a speed and brutality not seen in decades, enabling many oil producers to maintain output even as prices remain low. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sees crude falling a further $10 a barrel as storage tanks fill up in the coming months.”

COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS UNSCATHED BY CLEAN POWER PLAN — SNL Energy’s Annalee Grant and Molly Christian: “Coal-fired power plants will mostly get away unscathed when the U.S. EPA's 70 parts/billion ozone standard rolls out so long as compliance continues as predicted by the agency's modeling, which leans heavily on the other industries responsible for ozone pollution. Under the ozone standard adopted by the agency Oct. 1, the compliance options examined by the EPA in the Regulatory Impact Analysis, or RIA, released alongside the standard show that only five power plant units will need to make changes to help non-attaining counties lower ozone pollution using a 2025 baseline. Those five units could, the agency said, comply by installing new selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, equipment or by more fully utilizing already-installed SCR systems. While the EPA detailed the numbers revealed through modeling, it did not provide a list of the specific plants that will need to make changes. The baseline excludes California because that state has its own unique challenges impacting its ozone attainment and therefore was modeled separately.”

--Much coal regulation pre-dated Obama: InsideClimate News reports that while President Barack Obama has been labeled an enemy of coal, many of the regulations that have helped squelch the coal market in the U.S. pre-date the Obama administration, some dating back to the 1970’s.

BIG OIL’S BIG CLIMATE PLANS — Reuters: “The leaders of eight of the world's top oil companies will meet in Paris next week to explain how they will help combat climate change, as part of an offensive ahead of a U.N. summit later this year. The Oct. 16 meeting will be followed by a press conference, where the company heads are also expected to renew their call for a global carbon pricing mechanism, the chief executive of French oil major Total, Patrick Pouyanne, said on Wednesday at a conference in London. Pouyanne said the company leaders would present proposals to combat global warming ahead of the December Paris climate talks, where governments will set new goals for combating climate change.”

CEO’S DIFFER ON CLIMATE CHANGES — The Wall Street Journal: “The chief executives of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and ExxonMobil Corp. laid out contrasting visions this week for reducing fossil-fuel emissions, illustrating a divide between American and European energy companies ahead of a United Nations climate-change summit. Rex Tillerson, CEO of U.S.-based Exxon, said Wednesday that innovation, free markets and competition were the best tools for curbing emissions. His remarks came a day after Ben van Beurden, chief of Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, said technology wouldn’t be enough to bring about emissions cuts, and that governments needed to step in. Both executives were speaking here at the Oil and Money conference, co-hosted by Energy Intelligence and the International New York Times.”

SCIENTIST, WIFE INVESTIGATED BY CONGRESS FOR SPEAKING OUT ON CLIMATE — InsideClimate News: Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is investigating Jagadish Shukla, a climate scientist at George Mason University in Virginia, and his wife, Anastasia, who wrote a letter to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to determine "whether energy companies could be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of 1970 for purposefully casting doubt on the scientific evidence for climate change," InsideClimate News reports. Tobacco companies were successfully sued under the RICO act for misleading the public on the dangers of smoking. The Shukla letter was signed by 20 scientists including ones from Columbia University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Maryland among others. Shukla's group takes federal funding, and on Oct. 1 received a notice from Smith's committee to "preserve all e-mail, electronic documents, and data (‘electronic records’) created since January 1, 2009." Smith’s reasoning is that Shukla is "participating in partisan political activity."

HULK VS. FRACKING IN PENN. — Harrisburg Patriot-News’ Wallace McKelvey: "’This is the face of the hydro-fracking victims,’ Mark Ruffalo said Wednesday, as he stood in the Capitol Rotunda. The actor, known for his role as The Incredible Hulk, held 7-year-old Adam Headley in his arms as he spoke out in favor of a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania. Headley, whose parents have been mired in a years-long legal battle with energy companies, has reportedly suffered stomach and other health issues since the rupture of one of the natural gas wells near his home. ‘You think you're safe on your farm,’ said Adam's mother, Linda Headley, of Fayette County. ‘I'm here in the hope that something changes.’"

EPA ACTION ON VW— POLITICO’s Lauren Gardner: “The EPA plans to evaluate how much excess pollution Volkswagen's allegedly rigged diesel cars emitted and ‘appropriate ways to mitigate that harm,’ an agency official said in testimony released [Wednesday] in advance of a hearing [Thursday]. The agency also will ‘assess the economic benefit to VW of noncompliance and pursue appropriate penalties,’ Christopher Grundler, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, and Phillip Brooks, head of air enforcement, will say in a joint statement [Thursday] before the House Energy and Commerce oversight panel. Michael Horn, the head of Volkswagen's U.S. subsidiary, will testify ahead of the EPA officials.

--Volkswagen exec knew: The head of Volkswagen’s American business knew about a potential emissions problem with the company’s vehicles in spring 2014, earlier than previously acknowledged by top management in the United States, the Times reports.


--Oil continued to rise Wednesday on cuts in US production, the Journal reports.

“On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in November traded at $49.12 a barrel at 0249 GMT, up $0.59 in the Globex electronic session. November Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange rose $0.38 to $52.30 a barrel.”

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