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Blog posts February 2020

Energy Update: February 14, 2020

In the States

IL: In his State of the State address, Governor J.B. Pritzker called on the state legislature to enact clean energy legislation that prioritizes environmental and consumer protections. One such proposal being considered in Springfield, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), would require Illinois to meet 100% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, close all in-state coal and natural gas plants by 2030, and offer incentives to electrify public transportation systems. The bill also creates programs to help workers in the fossil fuel industry transition to jobs in renewable energy. Although supporters say the CEJA will generate economic growth while protecting the environment, some critics have expressed concerns that the bill could raise costs for businesses. “Urgent action is needed, but let me be clear: the old ways of negotiating energy legislation are over. It’s time to support consumers and climate first,” said Governor Pritzker. “I am not going to sign an energy bill written by the utility companies.” Could Springfield Pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act this Session? - PBS WTTW Chicago

 

ND: Governor Doug Burgum, in his State of the State address, touted North Dakota’s strong energy industry and described his vision for the future of energy production in the state. Governor Burgum described his approach as “innovation over regulation,” and said he intends to develop incentives to attract the petrochemical industry, expand gas-fired electricity generation, and invest in carbon sequestration technology. While no specific pieces of legislation were mentioned, Governor Burgum’s leadership will likely influence Republican-led legislative efforts in the months to come. Gov. Burgum champions North Dakota's progress, potential in 2020 State of the State addressThe Bismarck Tribune

 

NJ: Governor Phil Murphy released his sweeping energy plan for the Garden State that centers on a commitment to fight climate change. The 290-page document describes the Murphy administration’s plan to cut carbon emissions and meet 50% of New Jersey’s energy needs from clean sources by 2030, rising to 100% by 2050. Notably, the plan defines clean energy sources as being “carbon-neutral”, and therefore allows for natural gas and nuclear power plants to continue producing electricity indefinitely, provided those plants offset whatever carbon they emit. However, the plan also prescribes strict standards for new building projects in the state; Governor Murphy said that the state will not approve any building project that “does not align with our broader efforts to combat climate change… [unless] amended”. Governor Murphy’s plan also lists a range of strategies for achieving its  environmental goals, including expanding the usage of electric vehicles, accelerating the growth of the state’s renewable energy industry, tightening energy efficiency standards, and expanding the clean energy economy in the state. Murphy just unveiled N.J.’s master plan for energy and made a big pledge to fight climate changeNJ.com

 

WY: During this year’s State of the State address, Governor Mark Gordon encouraged legislators to support policies designed to protect Wyoming’s coal, oil, and gas industries. The Governor   proposed a temporary reduction in severance taxes on the natural gas industry, changes to the payment schedule for Wyoming’s mineral production taxes, and increased exploration of carbon capture and sequestration technologies. “We [in the State of Wyoming] produce energy better, more safely and with more attention to the environment than anywhere else on the planet, yet our industries are still discriminated against, maligned and decried as dead. Well, not on my watch!” Governor Gordon exclaimed in his speech. Governor Gordon also called upon legislators in ensure that the next carbon capture facility in the United States be built in Wyoming. “I ask for your support of legislation requiring all new electric generation capacity produced in Wyoming to be reliable, consistent, and that a reasonable portion of it be net carbon negative,” Gordon said. Gordon outlines "window of opportunity" for energy, education in State of the State addressWyoming Tribune Eagle

 

National

President Donald Trump announced the nominations of new deputy chiefs for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). Douglas Benevento will be nominated as the EPA’s deputy administrator, and Mark Menezes will be nominated to be DOE’s Deputy Energy Secretary. Douglas Benevento is a former employee of Xcel Energy, a gas and electric utility, and a former lobbyist for Colorado Interstate Gas. Before his nomination, Mr. Benevento held various roles at the EPA, most recently the role of Associate Deputy Administrator. Mark Menezes is a former executive with Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and also lobbied for energy companies. Before his nomination, Mr. Menezes served as Under Secretary of Energy. Trump announces nominations of deputy chiefs for EPA, Energy DepartmentThe Hill

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