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Energy Update: January 18, 2019

NJ – Governor Murphy entered office in 2018 with the goal of having 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050, and now New Jersey state’s environmental advocacy community, in addition to the state’s top business executives, are buying into it. DSM North America is releasing plans to double their solar field in Belvidere, Warren County. (DSM is a global-based science company that focuses on nutrition, health, and materials). The project is 20.2 megawatts (MW), doubling the capacity of the original DSM solar farm; making it the largest net-metered solar facility in New Jersey and the second largest on the East Coast. To increase the energy output of the system, the 62,215 solar panels at the site will use DSM’s anti-reflective coating which reduces the reflection of sunlight. The new field will provide surplus energy which will then be sold back into the grid. It is projected that the facility will provide 23,437 MW hours of electricity annually, or enough energy to power 2,614 homes a year. Belvidere is also a candidate for DSM’s new food enzyme plant. Is Business Buying into Murphy’s clean-energy goals? Looks like it. – NJ Spotlight

 

MD – The Maryland Board of Public Works, composed of Governor Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, voted 3-0 against TransCanada’s pipeline that would run across the western part of Maryland and carry natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to West Virginia. Environmentalists and Maryland residents alike were outspoken in their opposition of the pipeline. Before the vote took place, over 60 lawmakers sent a letter that urged board members to reject the proposal, saying it goes against the state’s goal of increasing renewable energy production, as well as their ban of fracking. Governor Hogan said the unanimous vote would have happened regardless of the letter. Comptroller Peter Franchot stated that the pipeline would not bring Maryland economic benefits and would only come with a slew of environmental problems. However Scott Castleman, a spokesman for TransCanada, said the company will consider their options in order to keep the project on track and insists that, “through proper design and construction our project can be completed in an environmentally responsible and safe manner.” Despite the unanimous vote against the pipeline, it is still possible that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the courts could get involved. But Anne Havemann, attorney for Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said the vote was at least a welcome delay of the project. Maryland board votes against natural gas pipeline project – The Washington Post

 

 

CO – On Monday, January 14th, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that required Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to give consideration to the public health, safety and the environment in any new drilling. The Supreme Court stated, “Specifically, as the commission recognized, the pertinent provisions do not allow it to condition all new oil and gas development on a finding of no cumulative adverse impacts to public health and the environment.” Oil and gas industry representatives said the ruling upholds the law’s recognition of multiple interests. However, newly inaugurated Governor Polis said, “While I’m disappointed by today’s ruling, it only highlights the need to work with the legislature and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to more safely develop our state’s natural resources and protect our citizens from harm.” Big win for oil and gas industry: Colorado Supreme Court reverses Appeals Court ruling in Martinez case – The Denver Post

 

Regional and National

 

On Monday, January 7, the Supreme Court refused to take the case Exxon Mobil Corp v. Healey, in which Exxon Mobil Corp is attempting to stop Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey from obtaining documents from them in an investigation on climate change. Now that the Supreme Court rejected the case, Exxon Mobil will likely now have to comply with the civil investigative demand. Attorney General Healey is probing whether or not Exxon lied about how much they knew about the threat of climate change and what role their use of fossil fuel played in order to protect their business. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court already ruled on the issue in favor of Attorney General Healey. Exxon Mobil said in their September 2019 petition, which was backed by the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, “The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court compelled compliance with sweeping investigatory requests by the state’s attorney general for decades’ worth of documents concerning petitioner’s knowledge of, and the relationship of petitioner’s products to, climate change.” Exxon Mobil called the ruling by the Massachusetts court “misguided” and is challenging whether or not a court  can have personal jurisdiction over a nonresident corporation to compel it’s compliance with an investigatory request for documents. Attorney General Healey has stated Massachusetts’ law allows her to investigate Exxon Mobil because of their prominence in the state via advertising and the selling of products. Supreme Court rejects Exxon Mobil appeal in climate case – The Hill

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