Energy News for August 24, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on August 24, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 8/24/2015

By ELANA SCHOR, with help from Alex Guillén and Andrew Restuccia

VIVA POTUS IN LAS VEGAS: Environmentalists, renewable energy industry executives and their Democratic allies will descend on Las Vegas today for the eighth-annual national clean energy summit. The summit — which is hosted by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Center for American Progress and others — will be headlined by President Barack Obama. While news about Keystone XL isn’t expected to be on the agenda for the president’s speech, greens are nonetheless excited to hear what the president has got to say.
We’ll be listening to see if Obama talks about his administration’s decision to allow Shell to drill in the Arctic — a move that frustrated the president’s environmentalist base. And we’ll be looking for any talk about crude oil exports, the Paris climate change negotiations and GOP challenges to EPA’s power plant regulations. Obama is slated to speak at 5 p.m. PDT/8 p.m. ET, after which he’ll attend a Nevada State Democratic Party fundraiser.

The White House this morning previewed a number of executive actions on energy efficiency that Obama is likely to talk up, including $1 billion in additional Department of Energy loan guarantee authority for distributed energy projects; a joint DOE-Department of Housing and Urban Development project aimed at helping homeowners easily “measure and improve the energy efficiency of their homes”; and $24 million in solar technology funding for 11 projects in seven states.

Our own Andrew Restuccia is in Vegas covering the summit — feel free to say hello! Other bold-faced speakers at the summit include: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, CAP President Neera Tanden, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. See the full agenda here:

A plug for plug-ins. The Sierra Club marked the energy summit’s kickoff with a memo listing key facts about the clean energy boom, touting reports that show solar jobs booming while coal employment dwindles and more than 2.5 million people working in the global solar PV industry.

HAPPY MONDAY, Morning Energy readers! The return to work might feel scary, but just think how much creepier a good horror flick can be. Do you prefer the original Japanese “Ring” or the American remake? Freddy or Jason? Send all opinions — and of course, your latest energy news, tips and commentary — to Eric Wolff, who’s back in the ME saddle tomorrow, at And follow us on Twitter @ericwolff, @Morning_Energy and @POLITICOPro.

NEW ATTACK ON STEYERWORLD: The conservative Energy & Environment Legal Institute is out today with an investigative report that pulls from public records requests at the federal level and from more than a dozen states to charge that wealthy environmentalist donors and aligned governors are waging a “coordinated and multi-million-dollar campaign” to promote Obama’s climate agenda, specifically through EPA greenhouse gas regulations. The report essentially expands on an argument that Republican lawmakers and conservative advocacy groups have made for months: that billionaire activist Tom Steyer and the network of nonprofits he has steered funds to are running a comprehensive push to promote clean energy policies that eclipses industry-backed efforts on the other side of the climate debate.

The report’s author is Chris Horner, the E&E Legal senior fellow who made his name as an EPA gadfly after uncovering former agency chief Lisa Jackson’s email alias as Richard Windsor. Horner slammed “individuals who have placed their personal interests ahead of the public interest” in a statement today upon release of the report. Check it out in full:; and a copious addendum of source documents to download:

BUFFETT TAKES HITS ON SOLAR: Warren Buffett’s role in a push for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to forego net metering policies favorable to solar development has caught the eye of advocates at, which today launches a petition drive that calls on the billionaire to end what they call his “war on rooftop solar.” NV Energy, a subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is at the center of the Nevada solar-power debate now coming to a head []. “If Buffett wants to crush the Nevada solar industry, costing thousands of jobs and slowing the fight against climate change, he should at least be honest about why,” Brant Olsen,’s campaign director, said in a statement. Here’s the petition:

WEEKEND UPDATE … What you missed in the world of energy:

— House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called on America to exercise “the talent, the know-how and the God-given resources to be an energy superpower” in an op-ed that elaborated on his party’s case for ending the decades-old crude export ban. More from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

— GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina hit back at NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday for playing up a recent scientific study that found climate change has worsened the ongoing drought in her home state of California. Fiorina pointed the finger at “liberal politicians who stood up for 40 years as the population of California doubled and said, ‘you cannot built a new reservoir and you cannot build a water conveyance system.’”

— Democratic White House candidate Martin O’Malley took his own climate message to the Sunday shows, telling ABC that front-runner rival Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is distracting from the importance of discussing “issues that really matter,” such as “making the investments that allow us to move to a 100-percent clean energy future.”

— Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a GOP presidential candidate, cited multinational oil companies doing business with Iran as he argued Sunday on Fox News that even acting alone, the U.S. has options to keep pressure on Tehran to wind down its nuclear program. “[I]f an oil company in France wants to sell to Iran, they won’t be able to sell in America,” Kasich said. “So even unilateral sanctions by the United States can have a significant impact.”

ME FIRST — CRS’ NEW OHIO OZONE REPORT: The industry-backed Center for Regulatory Solutions is out with a new report today that tracks the expected economic impact from the strengthening in ground-level ozone standards due out this fall on one of the most important swing states. “The vast majority of Ohio’s economy, population, and workforce could be caught in the net of ozone nonattainment under the EPA’s proposed range” for a National Ambient Air Quality Standard, which is expected to land between 65 parts per billion and 70 ppb. CRS found 34 counties that stand to be affected by the change, which collectively “represent 84 percent of the state’s GDP, 80 percent of the state’s workforce, and 77 percent of the state’s population.” Check out the report in full ahead of a briefing outlining it that will feature Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio):

But there’s more on ozone in Ohio today. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host its own dialogue about the impact of EPA’s plans to tighten the standard at a Columbus forum with representatives from the American Petroleum Institute and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

BIOTECH <3 ETHANOL: The Biotechnology Industry Organization today marks the 10th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s passage into law with a report that tallies the greenhouse gas reductions achieved by the ethanol mandate at more than 589 million metric tons, or the equivalent of more than 124 million cars taken off the road. The report also calls on EPA to reverse its recent decision to lower the congressionally mandated targets for annual blending of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline supply.

Fuels America is also on the case today with an ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, timed to Obama’s visit for the Reid energy summit, that calls the RFS “the only law on the books combating climate change” and blames “pressure from the oil industry” for persuading EPA to trim its sails on the mandate.

HAPPENING THIS WEEK — D.C. REGULATORS TO VOTE ON EXELON-PEPCO MERGER: The D.C. Public Service Commission will meet on Tuesday to vote on whether to approve the Exelon-Pepco merger, potentially clearing the way for the $6.8 billion deal. The merger has already been approved by FERC and regulators in Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland — the last of which only narrowly backed the deal 3-2 with 46 conditions relating to reliability, rate credits, efficiency and renewables. If the DCPSC approves the deal, the merger can move forward; if it rejects it, the merger is kaput. The deal faced significant opposition in the District, including from the city attorney general, who suggested the three PSC members demand an additional 40 conditions before approving the merger, as well as from four city council members and more than half of D.C.’s neighborhood commissions. The meeting is at 11 a.m. tomorrow at 1325 G Street NW, Suite 800, and will stream here:


— Countries slow to pledge emissions cuts ahead of Paris climate talks. WSJ:

— EPA knew of blowout risk from Gold King mine. AP:

— An environmentalist and an oil industry rep debate the impact of the coming ozone standard proposal on Colorado. KUSA:

— Editorializing against the Obama administration’s methane plan in the WSJ:

Oil tycoon Hamm’s ex-wife files a new suit against him. AP:

Del. Water authority reaches $1.4-million settlement with EPA over sewage discharge.

Tags: , , , ,