Energy News for September 8, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on September 8, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 9/8/2015

By ERIC WOLFF, with help from Jenny Hopkinson

OBAMA TO TALK RESILIENCY, CLIMATE CHANGE IN NEW ORLEANS: President Obama’s speech in New Orleans today on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will focus largely on the city’s astonishing recovery, but it will also spend time on the need to invest in ways to make cities more resistant to larger, nastier storms that can be catalyzed by climate change. “One thing that the President will certainly talk about in New Orleans tomorrow is the need for the federal government, and in communities all across the country, to make the kinds of investments in resilience so that our communities can better withstand stronger tornadoes, more violent hurricanes, more widespread wildfires,” spokesman Josh Earnest said yesterday at the White House press briefing.
The speech will be the second leg of Obama’s climate change tour. On Monday he spoke in Las Vegas, touting clean energy as a jobs creating industry and berating his opponents for rejecting the science of climate change and blocking his policies. Obama will head to Alaska next week for a three-day visit to see how climate change is altering the landscape.

AS NATION BURNS, SENATE COMMITTEE TO HOST WILDFIRE HEARING: This year is already the second worst on record for U.S. wildfires, in part thanks to changes wrought by global warming. The state of Washington alone has enough wild fires to cover Rhode Island, according to remarks Sen. Maria Cantwell will make at a field hearing of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee in Seattle today. Cantwell’s opening remarks will dovetail with Obama’s speech in New Orleans, touting legislation that will increase community resilience. She will be joined by Sen. Tom Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who will also tout preparation and mitigation of wildfires. He will also call for much greater funding of the Forest Service’s firefighting operations. “Congress must end the practice of fire borrowing and we must do it in a financially responsible way,” he’ll say. The service recently released a report saying it was spending 50 percent of its budget fighting wildfires, borrowing funds from its other programs and operations to stay afloat.

If you want to see a rare sunny Seattle day, go to Seattle University’s Campion Hall at 914 East Jefferson Street at 11:30 PT.

LCV POLL: GOVERNORS SHOULD SAY YES TO CLEAN POWER PLAN: A poll sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters finds that 70 percent of registered voters want their governors to write carbon reduction plans as required by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, including 58 percent of Republicans surveyed. A modest 17 percent of registered voters did not want their states to cooperate. The poll was conducted by Democratic pollster Hart Research Associates and Republican pollster Chesapeake Beach Consulting. With the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, governors of from Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin have all threatened to not comply with the final rule. LCV did not poll for state-level results.

SUN SHINES GOLDEN ON NET METERING IN SILVER STATE: The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada extended the state’s net metering policy out to the end of 2015. The state’s customers had hit a cap on the amount of net metering in its customer base, and the commission has to decide if it wants to continue the policy. Utilities — especially the Warren Buffett-owned NV Energy ( — have been battling against net metering, as it threatens their business model. The Nevada commissioners will take to the end of the year to reconsider the pricing model. The Colorado Public Service Commission — coincidentally another state known for a silver boom — ended its own reassessment of net metering yesterday and decided to leave the program unchanged.

BE THRILLED IT’S THURSDAY! I’m your host Eric Wolff, and I’d like to thank our rainy June and sunny July and August for making me look like a champion gardener. You should see my tomatoes! As always, send tips, quips, and comments to, or follow us on Twitter @ericwolff, @Morning_Energy, and @POLITICOPro. Also, a reminder that Morning Energy goes dark next week. Your host has some good meetings set up, but a few slots are still open to anyone looking get really nerdy about energy policy over coffee or beer.

FALLING OIL PRICES COULD THREATEN FUNDING FOR 21st CENTURY CURES ACT: Rep. Fred Upton’s 21st Century Cures Act, intended to accelerate health care research, expected to fund about 5 percent of its programs through the sale of 64 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Congressional Budget Office expected the sale to generate $5.4 billion, or approximately $84 a barrel, roughly the commodity’s price last summer. As of yesterday, oil had fallen to $39 a barrel, a price that would, by ME’s math, slash the funding from oil sales more than in half to $2.5 billion. A spokeswoman for Upton said the bill foresees the oil sale starting in 2018 and taking place over several years — price fluctuations are to be expected. Still, the collapse in the price of oil may expose problems with this particular funding mechanism, which briefly enjoyed some popularity in the Lower Chamber.

DING! SIERRA CLUB V. MANUFACTURERS, ROUND 3: Your host hopes ME readers are enjoying the brawl taking place in their inbox every morning over the National Association of Manufacturers opposition to a lower smog standard. The Sierra Club threw the opening punch early this week when it offered a “pro-bono rebranding” to NAM: It renamed NAM the National Association of Polluters and created a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Manufacturers retorted yesterday, calling the green group’s maneuver “a diversion” and a “stunt” in a statement. The Sierra Club responded with a Storified account ( listing other things it says NAM considers a diversion, and it issued a statement for ME today from its legislative director, Melinda Pierce: “It’s sad that this group doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry thinks that pointing out the toxic effect their pollution has on children’s health is a ‘diversion.’ The fact is that they are blocking efforts to set more protective clean air standards which will reduce asthma attacks and save lives. That’s not a ‘diversion,’ that’s a tragedy.” Stay tuned to see if the manufacturers turn to Snapchat or WhatsApp to issue a response.

CREDO SEES CONTRADICTION IN OBAMA ALASKA TRIP: Obama’s visit to Alaska to highlight the effects of climate change struck the liberal activist group CREDO Action as a bit rich. In a video which edits a White House video all about Obama’s trip, CREDO argues that Obama can’t approve arctic drilling by Shell on one day and then decry the problem of climate change near the Arctic Circle on another. It calls on the president to end policies that support the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. The video will be released at 6 a.m. today.

W.VA. COURT SAYS NO(TUS) TO WOTUS INJUNCTION: EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are touting a decision from a federal court in West Virginia that says only the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has the legal backing to issue an injunction on the Clean Water Rule. Lawyers for the agencies were quick to highlight the ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, which effectively denied Murray Energy’s request to block the rule from taking effect. It now hands the issue to judges in North Dakota and Georgia who still have yet to weigh in. The opinion is here:

SO, STILL NO INJUNCTION: But the two courts are still in play. And just in case, state agriculture departments are ramping up their effort to get the agencies to voluntarily delay the Friday implementation date, arguing that more time is needed for outreach to states and regulated groups. In a letter Wednesday, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture called the outreach to states on how to implement the rule “unacceptable” and said that more time is needed to bring everyone up to speed. The measure is scheduled to take effect Friday. NASDA’s letter is here:


— Michael Bennet knocks Hillary Clinton on Keystone pipeline punt. POLITICO:

— Oil Industry Needs to Find Half a Trillion Dollars to Survive. Bloomberg Business:

— Global sea levels climbed 3 inches since 1992, NASA research shows. Reuters:

— SDG&E Reaches New Milestone For Renewable Power Delivery. Transmission & Distribution World:

— Controlling greenhouse gases besides CO2 could make quick progress on global warming. Alaska Dispatch News:

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