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Energy Update: December 4, 2020

In the States

ME: Governor Janet Mills announced her plan to address the impacts of climate change. The plan, titled “Maine Won’t Wait, A Plan for Climate Action,” aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions and lay the groundwork for Maine’s growing clean energy economy in the next four years. The plan encourages a transition from gasoline and heating oil to electrical power generated by renewable sources, including wind and solar, to satisfy Maine’s energy needs. The plan also sets goals for putting 41,000 electric vehicles on the road and installing 100,000 high-efficiency heat pumps by 2025, since transportation and home heating account for most of Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, the plan also aims to double the number of clean energy jobs in Maine to 30,000 by 2030. “Climate change will have profound implications for our state, our economy, and our people, both present and future,” said Governor Mills. “This is why Maine won’t wait, and can’t wait, to take action.” The Governor’s full plan can be found here. Mills Unveils 4-year Climate Action Plan, Makes Plea for Urgent ActionPortland Press Herald

 

NY: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will adopt new regulations to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program that aims to cap and reduce emissions from electricity production in the Northeast. The new regulations will steadily increase the state’s greenhouse emissions reductions from 2021 to 2030, ensuring that total regional emissions are 65% below 2009 levels by 2030. Under the RGGI program, the New York is required to achieve 30% of all reductions. These emissions reductions will also ensure the state meets requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 85% by 2050 as set under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed in June of 2019. Additionally, the regulations implement other measures focused on cutting emissions and promoting environmental justice. "Reducing the RGGI cap will lower greenhouse gas emissions even further, all while providing valuable resources to expand our clean energy economy. New York has been at the forefront of the fight against climate change and we will continue help push the nation forward towards a cleaner future," said Governor Cuomo. The Governor’s new regulations have already been adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Cuomo Announces Adoption of New Regulations to Reduce Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Cap by 30%Niagara Frontier Publications

 

SC: Advocating on behalf of energy consumers, Governor Henry McMaster wrote a letter to the president of Dominion Energy South Carolina requesting he withdraw the company’s request to increase energy rates statewide by 7.7% (a request the energy company had submitted in August). In his letter, Governor McMaster argued that increasing energy rates during the COVID-19 pandemic would impose “an unexpected and untenable burden on many South Carolinians,” and said that if Dominion did not withdraw its request, he would instruct the South Carolina Public Service Commission to deny it. In response to Governor McMaster’s letter, Dominion Energy did not indicate their intent to withdraw their request, instead saying “we welcome the opportunity to work with parties for the purpose of identifying contested issues on which we may find agreement as well as discussing appropriate compromises.” The governor’s letter can be found here. Governor McMaster Urges Dominion Energy to Withdraw Request for Rate IncreaseABC Columbia

 

WY: Governor Mark Gordon announced that he will increase funding for his Energy Rebound program by $15 million, bringing the total investment up to $30 million. The Governor’s Energy Rebound program, launched earlier this year in response to the economic slowdown associated with COVID-19, allocates funding from the CARES Act to jump-start halted oil and gas projects and get otherwise laid off employees back to work. With this additional funding, the Energy Rebound program will cover operational costs to restart nearly 300 oil and gas projects, generating an estimated 5,500 jobs across the state, according to the Wyoming Business Council. A total of 66 oil and gas companies were approved for funding, and funds from the program will account for plugging and abandoning 143 non-producing wells, recompleting 131 wells and finishing 18 drilled but uncompleted wells. Gov. Gordon Allots $15 Million More to Revive Energy Industry – County 17 News

 

National

This week, the Republican Steering Committee selected new party leaders for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Bruce Westerman (R-AK) will be the new ranking members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee, respectively. Both members are expected to continue promoting a Republican strategy for addressing climate change, centered on technological innovation and market-based solutions. Historically, Rep. McMorris Rodgers championed hydroelectric power in her home state of Washington and wrote a Fox News op-ed calling for “free-market solutions” and urging Americans and members of Congress to view climate changes as an issue that should “no longer be partisan…or generational.” Rep. Westerman has historically promoted “market-based conservation” of forests and public lands, and he worked with Republican leaders to introduce a package of Republican bills to combat climate change last year. Earlier this year, Westerman himself introduced a bill to support an effort to plant one trillion trees by 2050. Notably, Rep. McMorris Rodgers makes history by being the first woman from either party to hold a leadership role on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. GOP picks McMorris Rodgers for Energy and Commerce; Westerman for ResourcesPolitico

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