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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Constitution pipeline delays possible; Indian Point at state's highest court

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 newyork@politicopro.com 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.

CONSTITUTION PIPELINE COULD FACE YEAR-LONG DELAY — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: If the state doesn't approve permits soon, a proposed natural gas pipeline in the Southern Tier and Schoharie Valley could be delayed another year, according to the project's developers. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has been sitting on water quality permits for the Constitution pipeline and has not given a timeline as to when a decision will be made. On Monday, Constitution spokesman Christopher Stockton said the company would need to begin clearing trees for the pipeline before the end of the year to finish by April. That narrow window in the winter months is the only time the tree clearing can happen so that it doesn't interfere with bird migration, he said. http://politi.co/1PyLF7T

STATE’S HIGHEST COURT TO HEAR INDIAN POINT DISPUTE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The ongoing dispute between state officials and the operators of the Indian Point nuclear facility will go before the state's highest court early next year. On Friday, the Department of State determined Indian Point was not in compliance with its coastal zone certificate even though Entergy, which operates the Westchester County facility, withdrew the application last November. At the time, company officials said they wanted to wait for a federal environmental impact statement on the plant that's due next year, and would resubmit the application once that's completed. http://politi.co/1Qepmpn

** 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 NuclearMatters.com. **

BIG DAY FOR NJ WIND — POLITICO’s David Giambusso: Offshore wind had a good day in New Jersey. On Monday, the state Assembly advanced legislation that would compel the state Board of Public Utilities to approve wind farms off the coast of Atlantic City just as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auctioned off nearly two million acres of ocean to two companies looking to develop offshore farms. "I'm feeling very hopeful about the direction we're headed," said BOEM deputy director Walter Cruickshank during a conference call with reporters. New Jersey has not been at the leading edge of the offshore wind race. New York was recently tapped by the federal government to lead a regional push to develop wind. But the auction and the Assembly bill put the Garden State on track develop an offshore wind farm perhaps faster than New York. http://politi.co/1MT0xiC

WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD AGAINST SCHNEIDERMAN PROBE OF EXXON: “Sheldon Whitehouse got his man. The Rhode Island Senator has been lobbying for prosecutions of oil and gas companies over climate change, and New York Attorney General and progressive activist Eric Schneiderman has now obliged by opening a subpoena assault on Exxon Mobil. This marks a dangerous new escalation of the left’s attempt to stamp out all disagreement on global-warming science and policy. Progressives have been losing the political debate over climate change, failing to pass cap and trade even when Democrats had a supermajority in Congress. So they have turned to the force of the state through President Obama’s executive diktats and now with the threat of prosecution. This assault won’t stop with Exxon. Climate change is the new religion on the left, and progressives are going to treat heretics like Cromwell did Catholics.” http://on.wsj.com/1O04GhE

BUT HILLARY OFFERS PRAISE: Hillary Clinton said Monday that she is "so proud of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman because he announced that he is going to investigate Exxon,” according to Bloomberg News. Clinton made the comment at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, where she was endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund. “This is something that all three of the Democratic candidates called for; it’s a big deal," Clinton said, according to Bloomberg. The New York Times reported last week that Schneiderman had begun an investigation into whether Exxon had misled investors and the public about the risks of climate change. http://bloom.bg/1QqbBTL

AROUND NEW YORK:

--The Albany Times Union backs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desire to shut down the Indian Point nuclear facility. http://bit.ly/1QoWhqB

--The New York Power Authority has created a recreational trail outside Watertown. http://bit.ly/1SdsNKB

--State Reforming Energy Vision hearings will continue in the Hudson Valley next week. http://bit.ly/1Mk66Rl

--The Albany Times Union looks at the toxic legacy surrounding the Alcoa plant in Massena. http://bit.ly/1kk0UGs

--Op-ed: NY needs a solar plan: Don Hughes writes in the Times Union that New York should model its solar plan after California’s. http://bit.ly/1MT14B7

GOOD TUESDAY MORNING: Let us know if you have tips, ideas, complaints or even if you're just lonely. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and swaldman@politico.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

THE HOLE IN OBAMA’S PIPELINE SAFETY PLAN — POLITICO’s Elana Schor and Andrew Restuccia: “After a ruptured oil pipeline went undiscovered for 17 hours, spilling 800,000 gallons of heavy oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010, Congress ordered an audit that laid bare the industry's lackluster record of spotting leaks. But after five years of work, the Obama administration has proposed a regulatory overhaul that fails to patch that hole in the nation’s pipeline safety net — a revelation that has been largely ignored amid Washington's obsession with the Keystone XL pipeline.

“The proposal includes no minimum standards for how quickly the companies that own and operate the nation's sprawling network of oil pipelines must detect and plug leaks that can turn rivers, lakes and fields into hazardous-waste sites. Spills from pipelines carrying oil and other hazardous liquids have caused more than $2 billion in property damage in the past five years, while killing seven people and injuring 15, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.” http://politi.co/1iOTnO6

THE FUTURE OF UTILITY — GreenTech Media’s Jeff St. John: “Two years ago, energy investment veteran Kind wrote a report for the Edison Electric Institute, suggesting that utilities need to be freed to develop alternative business models to deal with the threat of third-party distributed energy. Among the new revenue streams, tariff structures and cost-sharing mechanisms the report put on the table, there were some ideas that have drawn fire from the solar industry, such as reducing compensation for net-metered solar customers. But none has proven as unpopular as fixed charges for solar-equipped or net-metered customers. That’s why Kind’s latest report, ‘Pathway to a 21st Century Electric Utility Model,’ released Monday on behalf of sustainable investment nonprofit Ceres, takes it off the table.” http://bit.ly/1XZo03e

ONE ENERGY JOURNALIST SIGNS OFF ON KEYSTONE WEARINESS — Vox’s David Roberts: “There is a strain of hostility toward the Keystone campaign among Beltway wonks and journos that is, let's just say, underdetermined by the substantive critiques they offer. Take this high dudgeon from Stephen Stromberg on the Washington Post editorial page. He deems the campaign so ‘irrational and insulting,’ so ‘capricious and immature,’ that it ‘should have offended those who care’ about clean energy. Lawsy mercy! Nonetheless, it isn't all concern trolling. Plenty of people of good faith, even those who share a concern over climate change, are skeptical of, or at least puzzled by, the Keystone campaign. They all have versions of the same question: why this? It doesn't seem like that big a deal in terms of carbon emissions. So why so much angst and organizing, so much wearying persistence, over this?” http://bit.ly/1Pj48qd

CLINTON ENDORSED BY LCV — The Hill: “Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton is getting a prized endorsement from one of the nation’s leading environmental groups. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, the LCV's campaign affiliate, announced on Monday that it is backing Clinton. It is the first time in more than three decades that the LCV Action Fund has made a presidential endorsement before any primary elections have taken place.” http://bit.ly/1M3lN1B

GREENHOUSE GASES HIT MILESTONE — The Washington Post’s Jobby Warrick: “Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere reached another grim milestone earlier this year as carbon dioxide levels surpassed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million across much of the planet, the premier global meteorological association confirmed in a report to be released Monday. Figures compiled by the World Meteorological Organization showed strong growth — and new records — in the concentrations of all three of the most important heat-trapping gases, continuing a long-term trend with ominous implications for climate change, the group said.

The report is likely to add to concerns about global warming in a year that climate experts say is almost certain to surpass 2014 as the hottest year in recorded history.” http://wapo.st/1WJV0PP

NOT ENOUGH — The New York Times’ Stanley Reed: “Even as the world shifts toward lower-carbon forms of energy, the changes are happening too slowly to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels in the coming decades, an international research group warns in a report to be released on Tuesday. And low oil prices could make the problem worse by slowing the planet’s transition to cleaner and more efficient cars, trucks and aircraft, according to the report, by the International Energy Agency. The group represents nearly 30 countries and aims to promote secure and environmentally sustainable global energy.” http://nyti.ms/1MT2lYX

OPEC STRATEGY COULD BACKFIRE — The Wall Street Journal: “OPEC’s unwillingness to limit its oil output could help usher in a sustained period of low prices and more pain for its members’ budgets, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday. The comments by the Paris-based monitor of energy trends echoed criticism from within and outside the group over a Saudi-led strategy of keeping the taps open to put pressure on higher-cost rivals such as the U.S. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries including Venezuela, Iran and Algeria are being badly pinched by fallen oil prices and have agitated for production cutbacks to push them back up.” http://on.wsj.com/1MT2GdT

FUTURES:

--Oil continued to fall on oversupply, the Journal reports.

“December crude oil settled down 42 cents, or 0.9%, to $43.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. oil has lost 8.4% during a four-session losing streak, the largest losses over four sessions since late August. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 23 cents, or 0.5%, to $47.19 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Brent is down 6.6% during its four-session losing streak.”

--Natural gas shrinks on warm weather forecasts, the Journal reports.

“Prices for the front-month December contract settled down 7.1 cents, or 3%, at $2.30 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest decline in one session since a 9.8% dive took gas to a three-year low on Oct. 26.” http://on.wsj.com/1MT30cO

** 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 at NuclearMatters.com. **

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