Below please find relevant energy policy documents.
Major Energy Planks in 2012 National Party Platforms
Every two weeks Viohl & Associates publishes an Energy Update, which provides summaries of significant federal and state energy news.
In the States
IA – According to a new report released by the Des Moines-based Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa has the potential to exceed the solar power energy of several other states, including Florida, Georgia, and Utah. The Council’s report, which generally analyzes the State’s solar energy power potential and industry, found that if Iowa were to cost effectively produce solar energy, it would place 16th in the nation and could generate a yearly maximum of 7 million gigawatt hours of solar photovoltaic energy. The report also estimates that Iowa could create around 2,500 jobs annually if the State added 300 megawatts of solar energy – enough to power almost 40,000 homes – over the next five years. “There are a number of important benefits that we’ve seen from wind that can be true for solar as well — from cleaner air and water to more jobs and more economic investment,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director the Council. Iowa’s solar power could outside Florida’s – The Des Moines Register
IN – Governor Mike Pence declared a state of emergency in response to the State’s propane shortage. Indiana is among 23 others states that have declared emergencies due to the lack of propane, which Governor Pence suggested is a crisis in the American Midwest, and was reportedly caused by several factors, including cold weather, pipeline issues, and increased prices. About 500,000 individuals, or 10% of the State’s population, use propane to hear their homes. Governor Pence also ordered the State’s agencies to work with truck drivers to expedite permits, waive fees on overweight loads carrying propane, and require state trucks to use alternative fuel to conserve propane. Additionally, the Governor announced that $5 million will be added to the State’s Low Income Housing Assistance Fund for the benefit of residents and local service providers. “Our administration is going to continue to pursue every avenue available to us to help Hoosiers through this severe shortage in propane during this difficult winter,” Governor Pence said. Pence declares energy emergency over propane shortage – The Indianapolis Business Journal and Skyrocketing propane prices cause Indiana to take action – The Indianapolis Star
NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered state agencies to toughen their oversight of oil shipments by rail, specifically by reviewing current safety and spill control plans. The Governor referenced recent disasters in Canada and North Dakota as evidence of the need to take action to secure oil shipments and review New York’s preparedness in the event of an accident. The executive order instructs the State’s agencies and department to “to evaluate the state’s spill prevention, response, and inspection programs involving rail and ship transport of petroleum products.” The Governor has also requested a report and recommendations to be submitted to his office by April 30. Cuomo orders oversight of oil shipments by rail – The New York Times and Cuomo seeks state, federal review of crude oil shipments – The Albany Times Union
The 487-mile southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline, called the Gulf Coast Pipeline, is fully operational and has begun transporting oil to refineries in Texas, according to its owner, TransCanada. The northern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline is awaiting approval from the State Department because it crosses an international border. In order for TransCanada to carry crude heavy oil from Canada’s tar sands, the State Department would need to issue the company a permit. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, after his Department finalizes its environmental impact report, a decision will be made on approving a permit for the pipeline. Keystone pipeline’s southern leg to begin transporting oil to U.S. Gulf Coast – The Washington Post
Energy, as has been the case during the past few years, played an important part during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this year. The President, who spoke for more than hour, declared climate change a fact and mentioned his administration’s efforts to achieve energy independence, including the opening of federal lands and water to drilling. The President stated he would like to set new fuel efficiency standards for trucks and to speed up the building of new natural gas-powered factories and fueling stations for automobiles. In addition to setting emission limits for certain power plants, the President said he would use his executive power to push his agenda, if necessary. The President also noted that natural gas and oil production are each up 14% and 10% respectively over the past four years. Energy plays key role in Obama’s State of the Union – CNN Money
In the States
AK – Governor Sean Parnell praised the recently signed commercial agreement between the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, TransCanada Corporation, British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil Corporation. The agreement, which the Governor called an “historic achievement,” details terms for a natural gas pipeline project. According to the agreement, the State’s equity share in the future pipeline will about approximately 20 to 25 percent. Legislative enabling authority is needed, however, for the State to engage in developing contract terms and the state legislature must also agree to the State’s estimated equity share. The involved parties estimate that project will cost about $45 billion to more than $65 billion for the roughly 800-mile pipeline. "Not only have all the necessary parties aligned around a single project, but we're moving forward with a project that's on Alaska's terms and in Alaskans' interests," said Governor Parnell. Agreement sets road map for gas line project – The Anchorage Daily News
MA – Governor Deval Patrick announced $52 million in state funding to help Massachusetts towns to address climate change impacts. Approximately $40 million of the total funding will take the form of municipal grants and will be dedicated to making energy infrastructure “more resilient using clean energy technology.” Another $10 million will be dedicated to coastal infrastructure while the remaining $2 million will fund smaller energy-related projects. Fro example, the State is hiring a climatologist for the University of Massachusetts Amherst to work with the Northeast Climate Science Center. Other projects include natural disaster vulnerability assessments for state agencies and departments and funds to monitor potential for “diseases associated or attributed to climate-related factors.” The world's climate is changing,” said Governor Patrick, “and human activity is contributing to that change. Massachusetts needs to be ready." Gov. Patrick announces $52 million in state funding to combat effects of climate change – The Boston Globe
NM – Governor Susana Martinez, state energy officials, and representatives from Cyrq Energy celebrated the opening of the State’s first utility-scale geothermal plant. The new Cyrq Energy geothermal plant, which is located in Hidalgo County, will provide electricity to PNM Resources, the State’s largest utility, and is projected to produce enough electricity to power up to 5,000 homes. Geothermal power is generated by the pumping of naturally hot water to the surface and then transferring such heat to spin turbines that in turn produce electricity. "We are proud of Cyrq's continuing commitment to New Mexico," said Governor Martinez. "This project is an excellent example of what we can accomplish when we work together to reduce duplicative and burdensome government red tape, so that businesses can create the jobs New Mexico families and communities need succeed." State’s first utility-scale geothermal plant heats up – Albuquerque Business First and Geothermal plant now operating in Hidalgo County –The San Francisco Chronicle
WV – Following a massive toxic chemical oil spill that contaminated the State’s water supply, leaving more than 300,000 people without drinking or bathing water, State officials are slowly beginning to lift a ban on tap water, according to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The leak, which was discovered on January 9, emanated from a ruptured chemical tank that contained the coal-washing chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, known as MCHM, which proceeded to spill into the Elk River. The Governor said the chemical company was to blame, calling the episode “unacceptable.” “We have made a lot of progress,” Governor Tomblin said, but I ask all West Virginians to continue to be patient as we work to safely restore service to the affected areas.” West Virginia puzzled, outraged over chemical leak – The Los Angeles Times and CDC: W. Va. water crisis ‘a dynamic and evolving event’ – The Charleston Gazette
Several Governors, including Mary Falling of Oklahoma and John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who respectively serve as chair and vice chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), recently met with President Barack Obama to discuss a range of issues, including states’ work on energy production and regulation. Governors Mike Beebe or Arkansas, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker also took part in the NGA meetings with the Obama administration. After their meeting, Governor Hickenlooper stated he told the President that States should take the lead in regulating energy production and that it would be easier for Governors to work across party lines on such issues as opposed to members of Congress. “We think we can get a bunch of states to create a national framework in regulation that would vary from region to region based on differences in geology or geography,” Governor Hickenlooper said. “But each governor is going to want to hold their state to the highest standard. I think every governor, without exception, wants to make it as least onerous…on business. You want to give your businesses every chance to succeed.” Gov. Hickenlooper to President Obama: Let governors come up with energy plan – The Denver Post