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Energy Update: January 12, 2018

In the States

MD – Governor Larry Hogan joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, which was formed last June after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the international Paris climate agreement. Maryland is the 15th state to join the coalition, which includes two other Republican Governors, Phil Scott of Vermont and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts. In a letter to the Alliance written this week, Governor Hogan said “As long as the U.S. Climate Alliance adds value, shows true bipartisanship, and avoids Washington D.C.’s politics-as-usual, corrosive tactics and distractions, we will gladly invest our time and energy with state colleagues for this cause.” Governor Hogan also noted the state’s progress towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and that he is currently working on a more comprehensive goal of lowering emissions by 40 percent by 2030. Maryland’s GOP Governor commits to AllianceThe Washington Post


NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to invest at least $200 million “to encourage development of better storage technology for renewable energy produced by solar and wind power.” The Governor’s announcement follows an earlier articulated goal of creating 1,500 megawatts of clean energy storage by 2025. In the same announcement, the Governor said New York will seek to generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 while cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Without methods to store the energy and dispatch it when and where it is needed, New York will face challenges integrating and maximizing the benefits of these clean resources," Governor Cuomo said. Governor pushed green agendaThe Albany Times-Union


WA – Governor Jay Inslee announced his plan to tax carbon emissions in Washington beginning July 2019, urging state lawmakers to adopt his proposal during this year’s legislative session. Governor Inslee recommended a $20 per ton tax on emissions generated by power plants and transportation fuels, excluding airplane jet fuel, with annual increases of about three percent plus inflation. The Inslee administration estimates “the proposal would generate $3.3 billion over the next four years ... [that could be] channeled into a variety of funds to be invested in clean energy programs.” If approved, Washington would join California in taxing emissions on the west coast. Several state legislatures, including Democratic leadership who recently took control of the state Senate, were skeptical of the Governor’s proposal and questioned whether it could pass during this year’s short 60-day session. Governor rolls out carbon tax, Republicans balkThe Bellevue Reporter


Regional and National

President Donald Trump proposed to open large sections of the country’s coastline to offshore oil and natural gas exploration and drilling. Before the announcement, prior administrations had only allowed production in the Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said up to 9 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf “will be under consideration for oil and gas lease sales beginning [in 2019] and extending through 2024.” With the exception of Governor Paul LePage of Maine, who currently chairs the OCS Governors Coalition that supports offshore drilling, nearly every coastal state Governor where drilling is currently not allowed opposes the administration’s plan, including Florida’s Rick Scott who asked for and received a waiver from the Trump administration. Several other Governors are expected to request a waiver from the Trump administration following the Florida decision. Governors oppose Trump’s drilling proposalCNN


Led by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R) of New York and Jim Langevin (D) of Rhode Island, a bipartisan group of more than 100 House lawmakers sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him “to recognize climate change as a threat to the United States” in the administration’s National Security Strategy. The letter was sent in response to a Pentagon document this year omitting the Obama administration’s description of climate chance as a geopolitical and national security threat. The letter to the Trump administration also quotes Defense Secretary James Mattis’ view on climate change, which aligns with the former administration’s perspectives. “Failing to recognize this threat,” said the Representatives, “represents a significant step backwards on this issue and discredits those who deal in scientific fact.” Make security strategy include climate again, lawmakers urge TrumpReuters

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