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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Power plant closings; Port Ambrose hearings

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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STUDY COULD PAVE WAY FOR CLOSURE OF TWO POWER PLANTS — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: An independent examination of two struggling coal-burning power plants in Western New York has found that neither is needed to maintain reliability of the state’s electrical grid, which could pave the way for their closure. On Friday, the New York State Independent System Operator said the Huntley power plant outside Buffalo can be replaced by transmission system upgrades. That key finding could pave the way for the plant to be shuttered by March, as NRG Energy announced would happen. The report also found the Dunkirk coal-burning power, also operated by NRG, could be mothballed after some transmission updates.

STATE REVISES CHANGES IN SEA LEVELS — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state is revising its sea level projections. The state Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that by 2100, an increase in sea level of at least 15 inches in the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley areas is possible. The model shows the sea could rise by as much as about 6 feet, or 75 inches. Such a rise could have a devastating affect on certain parts of New York City, as well as parts of Long Island and communities along the Hudson River.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York’s carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York’s nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP. Learn more at **

KREMER CALLS FOUL ON PORT AMBROSE HEARINGS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: Former New York Assemblyman Arthur Jerry Kremer is accusing the federal government of slanting the final New York hearings on the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas facility toward opponents by scheduling them in Long Beach, the Long Island town that could be most affected by the facility. Kremer heads the pro-industry advocacy group New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, or NY AREA, which has been a vocal supporter of Port Ambrose. The final environmental impact statement on the project is the last step in the approval process and four hearings — two in New York and two in New Jersey — will give the public a last opportunity to express its sentiments. The project has drawn strong opposition from elected leaders and environmental groups in both New York and New Jersey who say it is unnecessary, represents a security threat and could be disastrous to marine life. The U.S. Coast Guard scheduled two hearings in Long Beach next week and two hearings in Eatontown, New Jersey. In a series of emails, Kremer accuses federal agencies of scheduling hearings that are better suited for opponents of the project.

--The first two hearings will be held at the Long Beach Hotel at 405 E. Broadway from 6-10 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. In New Jersey, hearings will be held at the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel, 6 Industrial Way East, from 6-10 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5.

SOLARCITY: MAYDAY! — Analysis by Investigate Post’s Jim Heaney: “I have called Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s investment in SolarCity a high-risk, high-reward undertaking. The project took on an added air of risk Thursday, in light of not one, not two, but three pieces of bad news. For starters, the company disclosed it posted a net loss of $234 million in the third quarter. That’s the biggest quarterly loss in the history of the company and brings the year-to-date losses to a staggering $537 million. That puts SolarCity on track to lose more than $700 million for 2015, compared with net losses of $375 million in 2014, $152 million in 2013 and $92 million in 2012.”

--Roughly a quarter of the SolarCity’s leasing company’s value was wiped out Friday on the back of results released the previous afternoon.

NUCLEAR PLANT STILL IN LIMBO — Syracuse Post-Standard’s Tim Knauss: “The owner of FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County issued no news to the public or its employees this weekend about whether the plant will shut down next year or continue to operate. Despite setting up a special toll-free 800 number for employees to call this weekend, plant owner Entergy Corp. has provided no updates. The company had previously told employees it hoped to announce a decision by the end of October.”

LONG ISLAND’S THIRSTY POWER PLANTS — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “Long Island power plants, some already under fire for the billions of gallons of salt water they draw for use in cooling, are also among the biggest users of fresh water, according to figures from the Suffolk County Water Authority. National Grid's Northport power plant has been Suffolk's biggest commercial user of water for the past five years, drawing an average 95 million gallons of water annually. The 1,580-megawatt plant, Long Island's largest, uses fresh water for steam generation to power turbines and to heat fuel oil. Billions of gallons of salt water also are used in a separate process to cool the systems.”


--National Grid, Global Green team up: The Examiner reports, “Global Green and National Grid held an education event in Far Rockaway on Wednesday, October 21st, to announce their partnership to create climate resilient disaster preparedness hubs for New York area communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy.”

--An industrial lighting company has purchased a Syracuse company that makes LED lighting for sports stadiums.

--A new bridge over Letchworth State Park may facilitate the movement of Norfolk Southern trains bearing fossil fuels.

--The Canajoharie school district is the latest to sign up for the state’s K-Solar program.

--Average retail gasoline prices in New York have fallen 2.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.34 per gallon Sunday.

HEY, MONDAY: It’s Nov. 2, and it’s getting dark early. Patchy fog and sun is predicted for Albany with a high of 57 degrees. New York City will be mostly sunny, 65 degrees. Let us know if you have tips, 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:

CLINTON CALLS FOR EXXON PROBE — POLITICO’s Katie Jennings: Hillary Clinton, speaking at an event in New Hampshire on Thursday, said the federal government should investigate Exxon for misleading the public on climate change. Clinton was asked at the event at White Mountains Community College whether the Department of Justice should investigate Exxon, to which she responded, “Yes, yes they should ... there's a lot of evidence they misled people.” Now all the Democratic presidential candidates have called for a federal investigation of Exxon, after reports in InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times about Exxon’s internal knowledge of climate change science.

--More groups join push for investigation: “A coalition of nearly 50 environmental, civil rights and indigenous people's groups sent a letter Friday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging her to launch a federal investigation into whether ExxonMobil purposefully misled the American people on climate change.” InsideClimate News:

NEW NUCLEAR RULE COMING TODAY — POLITICO’s Darren Goode: “Next spring, nuclear plants will be required to notify safety regulators of cyberattacks on their systems within eight hours, according to a regulation being published Monday. Nuclear plants already have to maintain cybersecurity programs for their safety-related computer and communications systems. But the current system of reporting a cyberintrusion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is voluntary. The new final rule requires one-, four- and eight-hour reporting, depending on the severity of the security breach. If a safety-, security- or emergency preparedness-related system has been ‘adversely impacted’ at a plant, operators will need to tell the NRC. A breach that ‘could have’ had impacted important systems will need to be flagged within four hours while an intelligence gathering infiltration will have to be registered in eight hours.”

EXXON MOBIL AND CHEVRON FACING PLUNGING REVENUE — The New York Times’ Clifford Krauss: “Exxon Mobil and Chevron reported plunging revenue and profits on Friday, but their fortunes would have been even worse had it not been for a boom in their refining and chemical businesses. Still, those gains were not enough to stanch further job losses at Chevron, which said it planned to cut up to 10 percent of its workforce. Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, reported a profit for the third quarter of $4.2 billion compared with $8.1 billion a year earlier. The plunge came with a 37 percent drop in revenue, in large part because of a 3 percent decline in United States production, including a 9 percent drop in natural gas output.”

BP WITHDRAWS CLAIMS ON GULF PAYMENTS — The Associated Press: “Energy giant BP is ending its effort to recoup money it paid in economic damage claims to businesses and individuals under a settlement arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. On Friday, the company filed a motion to withdraw an appeal over what it said were overpayments worth hundreds of millions of dollars and involving more than 790 businesses. The appeal was before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. After a 2012 settlement with businesses and individuals was approved, BP argued that the claims administrator had not been correctly matching business’ revenues and expenses, resulting in overpayments. A court eventually ordered a new calculation method but refused to order restitution of payments already made.”

CALIFORNIA WATER FINES — The Associated Press: “State officials for the first time are fining California water suppliers for failing to meet a mandated 25 percent reduction in water use in the battle against a widespread drought. The $61,000 fines are being imposed on Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District. Beverly Hills officials said in a statement they may impose additional fines and hire extra staff to meet its savings goals. Officials with the Coachella Valley Water District said they, too, will develop new ways to encourage greater water savings. Redlands spokesman Carl Baker said the city learned of the fine late Thursday and said officials will seek direction on how to respond from the City Council on Tuesday. He declined to elaborate.”

CLEANING UP AFTER NUCLEAR — The Wall Street Journal: “About 45 miles southeast of San Francisco, in an 800-acre mini-city built to create atomic bombs, there’s a contaminated building slated for eventual demolition. Mark Costella, a facilities manager at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, would prefer to tear down the structure, but doesn’t have the tens of millions of dollars needed. Instead, he’s spending $500,000 to fix the roof. These are the kinds of contradictions at the heart of the complicated, expensive and struggling effort to clean up America’s 70-year-old nuclear-weapons program. The Energy Department’s cleanup operation is wrestling with reduced budgets, tens of billions of dollars in ballooning cost estimates and 2,700 structures on its to-do list.”

DEALING WITH DENIAL: Bill Nye is in a new show called “Explorer: Bill Nye’s Global Meltdown,” which premiered Sunday night on National Geographic Channel, Andy Revkin of the Times reports. Co-stars include Arnold Schwarzenegger. “In the program, written and directed by Chris Cassel, Nye reluctantly resolves to confront the five stages of ‘climate change grief’ after he is diagnosed with that malady by his cigar-chomping therapist, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The program is built around the environmental equivalent of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five mental stages of dealing with death — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The conceit makes a nice structure for what is a mix of road movie and science explainer.”

COAL’S WANING DAYS IN THE UK — The New York Times: “Tens of thousands of British coal miners have lost their jobs in recent decades, during the steep decline of an industry that stoked the nation’s industrial rise, sustained it through two world wars and once employed more than one million people. Chris Jamieson will be one of the very last. In December, his job is set to disappear when Kellingley colliery, Britain’s last deep coal mine, is scheduled to close for good. In the mine’s empty parking lot, Mr. Jamieson, 50, is already thinking about the moment in a few weeks’ time when the last group of miners is hauled to the surface. He expects to work the final shift at the colliery, which has been reduced to little more than a quarter of its peak work force and is succumbing to pressure from cheaper imported coal.”


--Oil rallied Friday as rig count drops: The Wall Street Journal reports a drop in the U.S. rig count helped boost oil futures Friday.

December crude oil settled up 53 cents, or 1.2%, to $46.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, gained 76 cents, or 1.6%, to $49.56 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America’s existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America’s carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state’s electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York’s state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us **

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