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Energy Update: June 8, 2018

 

In the States

HI – Governor David Ige signed three energy- and climate-focused bills into law. The first bill, HB 2182, seeks to make Hawaii carbon neutral by 2045 and establishes a state task force on Greenhouse Gas Sequestration. The second bill, HB 1986, which was passed by the state legislature unanimously, crafts a framework for a carbon capturing, offsetting, and crediting program while the third bill, HB 2106, requires a sea level rise analysis in environmental impact statements before projects can be approved. “Climate change is real,” said Governor Ige, “and we’re seeing its impacts right now in our island state. Taken together, this suite of bills establishes policies and programs that acknowledge and address this reality.” Governor Ige signs three bills combating climate changeThe Honolulu Star-Advertiser

 

IL – Several bills focused on solar energy development, notably the standardization of requirements for solar installations on farmland, await Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature. One bill, SB 486, determines how property taxes are calculated for land with ground-mounted commercial solar systems while another measure, SB 2591, requires the same agricultural impact requirements for wind farms to apply to solar projects with 500 kilowatts or more of generation. Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, which worked on the bills, said “the trio of solar energy bills passed in Illinois by a strong bipartisan majority reflects the growing progress of solar energy development. There’s now sufficient development growing and moving forward that it makes sense to flesh out the policy framework.” Illinois bills for solar on farmland await Rauner actionEnergy News

 

NM – Testifying before a House subcommittee in support of four energy bills, Governor Susana Martinez urged  Congress to to reduce bureaucratic red tape in federal review of energy projects. Noting that oil and gas revenue are critical for funding education, healthcare, and other public services, the Governor pressed for streamlining the federal permitting process. According to Governor Martinez and Secretary of Energy, Minerals, and Naturals Resources Ken McQueen, who also testified, “the average time it takes federal land managers to approve a drilling permit application is 250 days, [which] can amount to a potential loss of $2 million a day for the state.” Two of the bills are sponsored by Representative Steve Pearce of New Mexico who is running succeed the Governor in this year’s gubernatorial election. “Each backlogged permit represents New Mexicans losing out on good paying jobs and rural communities losing out on economic growth. We need a solution that will streamline layers of bureaucratic requirements and expedite the approval process,” Martinez said. Red tape slows oil and gas projects, New Mexico Governor saysThe Salt Lake Tribune

 

NJ – Governor Phil Murphy signed a measure to subsidize three nuclear power plants in the Garden State. The legislation requires ratepayers to “spend more than $300 million a year to rescue [the plants] run by Exelon and Public Service Enterprise Group. The Governor also signed bills that mandate that half of the state’s electricity is generated from renewable energy sources by 2030. “To reach our clean energy goals, we will need to keep these plants open and safely operating,” Governor Murphy said at the bill signing. He also noted that New Jersey’s nuclear plants support almost 6,000 jobs. Nuclear plants play pivotal roles in New Jersey’s economy and environment, and Governor Murphy is to be commended for signing into law today a Zero Emissions Credit program to help preserve these critical energy assets,” said Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. NJ Governor signs law to save nuclear plantsThe Washington Examiner

 

PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced his administration would more strictly enforce air pollution standards for the state’s natural gas industry, which has boomed in recent years thanks to the development of the Marcellus Shale’s natural gas deposits. The Wolf administration is planning, through the deployment of new permits, to require the exploration industry “to use more advanced equipment to reduce methane emissions and other air pollutants, control emissions from a broader array of sites, and check for leaks more frequently along pipelines and connections.” Applying to new well sits and compression, processing, and transmission stations along pipelines, the permits will take effect in August. “We are uniquely positioned to be a national leader in addressing climate change while supporting and ensuring responsible energy development, while protecting public health and our environment,” Governor Tom Wolf said. Pennsylvania sets methane requirements on natural gas wellsStateImpact Pennsylvania NPR

 

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