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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Cuomo urges feds to reject Indian Point; Schumer demands better Hudson maps

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.

CUOMO AIDE URGES FEDERAL REJECTION OF INDIAN POINT LICENSE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo has written a letter opposing the federal relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear facility because of its proximity to New York City and the deterioration of the aging plant. One of the federal licenses for the two Indian Point nuclear reactors expired in 2013 and the other expires in the next few weeks. The plant is allowed to continue operating during the relicensing process, which takes years and is currently underway. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is meeting in Tarrytown this week to hear possible challenges to the plant’s continued operation. Three administrative judges met to question officials from state and environmental groups who oppose the plant’s continued operation. Groups for and against the plant rallied outside the hearing Monday morning.

--The New York Post’s Robert Bryce asks why Cuomo was so outraged about the FitzPatrick nuclear plant closing but so hellbent on shutting down Indian Point.

SCHUMER: NOAA MUST UPDATE HUDSON MAPS BECAUSE OF CRUDE BARGES — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the tremendous amount of crude oil now being transported on the Hudson River means the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must update its 115-year nautical maps. In a letter to NOAA on Monday, Schumer said the agency's maps are outdated and could lead to an oil barge crash and spill on the Hudson. About 25 million gallons of crude oil are transported on that river every week, he said.

STATE OFFICIALS BACK LAKE ONTARIO WATER LEVEL PLAN — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A bipartisan group of state elected officials who support a plan to change controls of the water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is growing. Plan 2014 was unveiled 18 months ago by the International Joint Commission, a U.S. and Canadian entity that controls the water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Supporters say it will lead to an increase of 100,000 more megawatt hours of hydropower resources, new opportunities for hunting, angling, and wildlife viewing and extension of the recreational fall boating season on Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands region.

** 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 **


--Gov. Andrew Cuomo said operators of an aluminum smelting plant in Massena recently slated for closure must recognize the generous state incentives the facility has been awarded over the years.

--Copper thieves hit a utility substation near Buffalo.

--Onondaga County will get about 10 percent of its power from 31,000 solar panels spread out over four massive solar farms.

--Cross Georgia off the list of places where General Electric may move its headquarters.

--A bill that would provide reprieve to the state’s doomed mute swan population will soon be on Cuomo’s desk.

--A new natural gas distribution center will be built in Saratoga Springs.

--SolarCity and Erie County Community College are hosting training sessions for careers in the renewable and nanotechnology fields.

--If you’re in Central New York, here’s how to get help with the Home Energy Assistance Program.

--Rather than trying to keep the FitzPatrick nuclear plant open, the state could attract a high-tech business to replace it, Columbia University’s Earth Institute Director Steven Cohen opines.

GOOD TUESDAY MORNING: This newsletter is for you so let us know if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. 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:

OHIO POWER WANTS CONSUMERS TO KEEP IT AFLOAT — The Wall Street Journal’s Cassandra Sweet: “What should electric companies do with money-losing power plants when there is more than enough electricity available to satisfy day-to-day demand? The answer isn’t to close the unprofitable plants, say two of the nation’s biggest electricity producers, but rather to shift the financial burden to consumers. American Electric Power Co. and FirstEnergy Corp. say they don’t make enough money selling the power from seven old, coal-fired generating stations and one nuclear plant in their home state of Ohio. They have set off a firestorm of criticism by proposing that consumers and businesses in the state should cover the cost of operating the plants. The power companies argue they need to keep the surplus production capacity to make sure there is enough electricity when consumption spikes — such as during heat waves and blasts of Arctic cold.” This may sound familiar to many of you in New York’s energy world.

CLIMATE TALKS LIMITED — Reuters: “France will limit a U.N. climate summit in Paris starting in two weeks' time to core negotiations and cancel planned marches and concerts after the attacks that killed 129 people, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday. He said no foreign leaders had asked France to postpone the Nov 30-Dec 11 summit, which aims to map out a global accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a move which would amount to "abdicating to the terrorists". But he told RTL radio that 'a series of demonstrations planned will not take place and it will be reduced to the negotiations ... a lot of concerts and festivities will be canceled.'”

INDIA’S PRIME MINISTER VOWS TO QUADRUPLE RENEWABLES — Indian Express: “Pledging to quadruple India’s renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatt by 2022 and cut fossil fuel subsidies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked world’s top economies to build support systems focused on nations that have the maximum growth potential. He also asked them to keep infrastructure financing in developing countries as a key priority. In his lead intervention at G20 Working Lunch on Development and Climate Change, he offered seven points for consideration which include shift from ‘carbon credit’ to ‘green credit’ and increase in share of traffic on public transport in cities by 30 per cent by 2030.”

CURBING CARBON INVOLVES TREES, TOO — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “The general notion is that it’s all about fossil fuels, and so if we stop driving so much and using so much coal, we solve climate change. But there are other major players involved in putting carbon in the atmosphere and removing it, and a recent piece of research shows how one of them — forests — could make it harder for the United States to reach its express goal of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. That’s the same pledge the country’s negotiators will take to Paris later this month for a much anticipated global climate meeting. A new study in Nature Scientific Reports, by U.S. Forest Service researchers David Wear and John Coulston, finds that U.S. forests, which currently store more carbon than they lose each year — lowering the country’s net emissions — could store less of it in the future.”

ELECTRIC CARS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT — Vox’s David Roberts: “We had our carpets cleaned the other day, and when the cleaner guy found out what I did, the very first thing he said was, ‘I was going to get an electric car.’ Then he looked at me almost apologetically. ‘But I heard they're actually worse for the environment.’ It's not the first time I've heard it. The media loves these stories. They're counterintuitive, surprising, and best of all, show that those silly greens, with their idealistic yadda yadda, don't know how to do math. They're also wrong, as a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists conclusively demonstrates. The two-year study digs into the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of battery electric vehicles and gasoline cars, from materials to manufacturing to operation to disposal. The four cars used in the comparison were a midsize and a full-size gasoline car, a midsize battery electric vehicle (based on the Nissan Leaf), and a full-size BEV (based on the Tesla S). Long story short: Electric cars really are cleaner.”

GAS LINE EXPLOSION KILLS ONE — Reuters: “One person was killed and three others were injured on Friday when a natural gas line in California was ruptured by farming equipment, triggering a massive blaze, fire officials said. The Pacific Gas & Electric Corp line was buried deep underground when it was sliced, and the ensuing gas leak ignited a 200-foot fireball near the city of Bakersfield, the Kern County Fire Department said.”

SPACE LAUNCH COMPETITION FIZZLES — The Wall Street Journal’s Doug Cameron: “The U.S. Air Force’s first space-launch competition in a decade threatens to turn into a dud, as the United Launch Alliance joint venture that has dominated sensitive satellite work said it had pulled out because it can’t buy enough Russian-made engines. The decision by ULA, a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., leaves Space Exploration Technologies Corp. as the sole entrant when bids close Monday for the launch of a new satellite for the Air Force-run GPS in 2016. A final contract award is expected in March 2016, unless ULA supporters in Congress manage to postpone a deal until there is more than one bidder.”


--Oil dips below $40: Domestic crude slipped below $40 before regaining some ground Monday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The U.S. benchmark had fallen as low as $40.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in intraday trading before rebounding. Prices settled up $1, or 2.5%, to $41.74 a barrel. Brent, the global benchmark, settled up 9 cents, or 0.2%, at $44.56 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

--Natural gas picks up on cooler than expected temperatures, the Journal reports.

“Natural gas futures for December delivery settled up 2.4 cents, or 1%, to $2.385 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

** 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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