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Energy News

NY to invest $40M in solar energy storage technology

Miami Herald | Posted on October 11, 2018

New York state is investing $40 million in technology that stores energy from solar power. The office of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the funding decision. The money will support solar power projects around the state that are designed to ensure energy derived from the sun can be stored for use when demand is greatest. That can reduce the need for other, less environmentally friendly forms of power.Cuomo has set a goal for the state to generate half of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030.


Blind focus on ‘energy dominance’ may cripple Endangered Species Act

The Hill | Posted on October 11, 2018

The bald eagle, sea otter, timber wolf — these iconic animals and more have been saved by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). But the Trump administration doesn't seem to care about our country's natural heritage. It's using questionable arguments about the popular law in an effort to gut protections and convert our public lands into private assets. The administration's destructive intent is apparent in the proposed revisions to the ESA by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. These changes appear to be aimed at providing more opportunities for business interests to influence conservation decisions. Indeed, the administration has proposed to turn the law on its head by allowing consideration of economic impacts in listing decisions, restricting designation of unoccupied critical habitat, and eliminating default protections for threatened species. The motivations are even clearer when we look at the administration’s aggressive exploitation of public lands in favor of the oil and gas industry. The president's myopic fixation on achieving “energy dominance” is poised to undermine what former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell once referred to as an “unprecedented landscape-scale conservation effort” that demonstrated the ESA “is an effective and flexible tool and a critical catalyst for conservation.”


U.S. dairy experts cast doubts on Canadian trade deal ending deep slump for American farmers

Journal Sentinel | Posted on October 11, 2018

U.S. dairy farmers remain hopeful that a new trade deal with Canada could help lift them out of a deep slump, but some are casting doubt that it will make much of a difference in an American market flooded with milk. The deal, announced Monday by President Donald Trump, is “more of the same,” except it hurts Canadian farmers, said Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition.“Canadian family farms will go out of business, and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. And while the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis,” Goodman said.  The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Under the terms, still being finalized, Canada would open more of its dairy market to trade and has agreed to drop its quota and pricing system for “Class 7” milk powders  — a move that could help the struggling American dairy industry as it seeks export markets.But it opens only about 3.6 percent of Canada’s market for dairy, poultry and eggs to the U.S., and that’s not much for American farmers.“The impacts will be minimal. Canada’s entire dairy market is smaller than that of Wisconsin,” Goodman said.Tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement were heightened last year when Canada raised tariffs on ultrafiltered milk used to make cheese and other dairy products.


Here’s what Trump’s ethanol plan means for farmers, refiners and motorists

Market Watch | Posted on October 10, 2018

President Donald Trump’s plans to allow the sale of a higher concentration of ethanol in gasoline throughout the year would appease U.S. corn farmers who have been stung by low corn prices as a result of the U.S.-China trade dispute and likely even lead to lower prices at the pump. Some refiners and older car engines, however, may pay the price. It would help to push corn prices higher and benefit farmers, and it may even help to lower prices for gasoline, but it would hurt refiners who don’t have the ability to blend ethanol—and there are also concerns about the impact of E15 in car engines, especially those made before 2001, he said.


USMCA Trade Deal Is A Win For Texas Energy Producers

Texas Standard | Posted on October 10, 2018

President Donald Trump’s new trade deal, the USMCA, appears be beneficial to big oil and gas companies. Canada recently signed onto the new deal, along with the U.S. And Mexico, in a deal that replaces NAFTA. The new deal also has broad implications for the Texas economy, particularly energy production. Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, says the new agreement includes provisions that help protect U.S. oil company investments abroad.“It also prohibits tariffs on oil and gas products, which is pretty handy for the U.S. because it’s including gasoline sold to Mexico by U.S. refiners,” Smith says.The new agreement includes an ISDS, or investor state dispute settlement, which is intended to resolve international trade disputes. NAFTA included ISDS provisions, and many of these were removed from USMCA. But the oil and gas sector will continue to use that mechanism. Smith says U.S.-based oil companies like Chevron and Exxon-Mobil now have a stronger legal footing in Mexico and are able to bid in oil auctions.


Trump tells EPA to pave the way for year round E15 sales

Radio Iowa | Posted on October 10, 2018

A White House official says President Trump has ordered the EPA to set the wheels in motion for the year-round sale of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol.Currently, gasoline with 10 percent ethanol may be sold at any time of the year in the United States. The oil industry has fought to preserve rules that have prevented higher percentages of ethanol from being added to gasoline during the summer.The announcement last night about year-round E15 sales sets Trump firmly on the side of corn growers. The president is expected to tout his administration’s move to promote ethanol during a rally in Council Bluffs this evening.


Exxon Puts $1 Million Into Quest for Carbon Tax and Rebate

Bloomberg | Posted on October 10, 2018

An effort to put a tax on carbon dioxide emissions just won an unlikely underwriter: a top producer of oil and gas.Exxon Mobil Corp. is putting $1 million into a political campaign that, if successful, would effectively spawn a tax tied to the company’s core products.The move is consistent with Exxon’s longstanding support for a price on carbon dioxide, imposed instead of an array of environmental regulations that already elevate the cost of fossil fuels. But it marks the very first such contribution by a major oil company to the effort, known as Americans for Carbon Dividends.With Exxon’s donation, the biggest U.S. oil company is joining the nation’s largest nuclear power generator and major renewable energy boosters in bankrolling the political campaign to put a tax on emissions, with revenue the levy raises redistributed to U.S. households.


EPA’s new carbon plan won’t slow coal unit shutdowns: utilities

reuters | Posted on October 7, 2018

The Trump administration’s replacement of Obama-era carbon regulations will not save U.S. coal-fired power plants from shutdown, according to a Reuters survey of utilities, spelling bad news for Trump’s efforts to revive the ailing coal industry. The Environmental Protection Agency in August proposed replacing the Clean Power Plan, a signature climate change policy of the Obama administration aimed at curbing carbon emissions from the power industry. Instead, a weaker plan called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, or ACE, would let states write their own rules.It marks the Trump administration’s most aggressive effort to help coal companies stung by falling demand from power plants.


State panel shelves Gov. Rauner's EPA plan to ease pollution rules for Illinois coal plants

Chicago Tribune | Posted on October 7, 2018

With the Nov. 6 election looming, a state panel on Thursday shelved Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to relax limits on lung-damaging pollution from some of the last coal-fired power plants in Illinois.The decision by the five-member Illinois Pollution Control Board, four of whom are Rauner appointees, delays a final ruling on controversial changes intended to benefit a single company, Texas-based Vistra Energy, until after voters decide if the Republican governor gets another four-year term.


Massachusetts ranked most energy efficient state, Wyoming worst: study

The Hill | Posted on October 7, 2018

Massachusetts and California are leading the country in energy efficiency standards according to a study released Thursday. The coastal states’ investments in energy saving targets, electric vehicles and efficient building standards helped them lead the annual study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.Massachusetts took the top spot for the eighth year in a row due to a number of state programs that encouraged consumers to invest in energy efficiency. Following closely behind, California ranked second on the list thanks to incentives it offers for energy efficient schools, residences and industries.


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