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Energy Update: March 16, 2018

In the States

WA – Governor Jay Inslee’s proposal to impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels failed to gain enough traction in the Democratic-controlled state legislature. If the legislature had passed a carbon tax, where the policy was a few votes short according to officials, Washington would have been the first state to impose a straight tax on greenhouse gas emissions. Other states like California and some in the northeast employ a cap-and-trade system to shrink carbon dioxide pollution. The legislation would have imposed a $12 per metric ton of carbon emissions on the sale or use of fossil fuels, and was projected to raise nearly $800 million in two years. Despite the legislature’s inaction, Governor Inslee said “I would consider this a sea change in the climate fight. It’s come a long way from where we’ve been. We’ve basically shown that carbon policy is within reach.” The Governor also vowed to continue pressing for action on climate change issues. Washington’s carbon tax bill dies in legislatureAssociated Press


WY – East of the state capital of Cheyenne, EOG Resources announced its intent to withdraw an application to craft an injection well for fracking natural gas and oil. The application was withdrawn by the Houston-based company due to local concerns over the proposed well’s proximity to a drinking water aquifer. EOG announced it will continue to seek approval for injection wells in other parts of the state, notably in Laramie County and the Denver Basin in the southeastern part of the state. Both the federal Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said they were waiting to receive updated application information from EOG. In Laramie County alone, there are close to 5,000 permits pending to drill for oil and gas, noted Shannon Anderson, an environmental lawyer. “That’s a huge number, and there is a large waste stream associated with those wells,” Ms. Anderson said. “There are traumatic impacts to aquifers for the drilling of those wells.” Company withdraws application for controversial well near CheyenneThe Casper Star Tribune




Regional and National

Governor Phil Scott of Vermont was elected the new chair of the nonpartisan Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), which encourages intergovernmental cooperation among states in the northeast and New England. Scott, a first-term Governor, was unanimously selected by his colleagues in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. Governor Scott announced his chairmanship will focus on high energy costs in the region. Noting that “in Vermont, I’ve committed to making the state more affordable, which includes addressing energy costs that have been growing faster than wages.” Governor Scott added that “high energy costs impact our entire region, and our ability to create more and better paying jobs, so this is a goal that the CONEG governors have coalesced around because we know it will help to improve the economic security of the residents in each of our states.” Scott elected chair of CONEGVermont Business


During his recent testimony before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke noted that President Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore leasing may not work on the west coast as California, Oregon, and Washington have “no known resources of any weight for energy companies to extract.” The Secretary, who also acknowledged the Maine was in a similar situation, did not state whether these states would be granted an exemption from the President’s proposal, as Florida was given. Also, during his testimony, Secretary Zinke acknowledged the resistance to the President’s plan from the states in the northeast, and said these concerns would be “reflected in the next draft of the [President’s] plan.” Zinke: Oil, gas exploration off Pacific coast might not happenThe Washington Post


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently released its list of nuclear energy facilities requiring increased oversight by the federal agency. The NRC’s 2018 list includes a dozen or so nuclear energy plants that need routine oversight and additional assessments, focused on safety for example, including the Columbia Generating Station in Washington State. Rounding out the bottom of the NRC’s list includes two reactors in Arkansas and one in Massachusetts. NRC nuclear power plan review puts Columbia under extra federal scrutinyThe Tri-City Herald

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