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Energy Update: May 3, 2019

In the States

NV – Governor Steve Sisolak has signed into law a bill that requires Nevada to double its Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030. This bill was first proposed in 2017, but was vetoed by former Governor Brian Sandoval. In signing the bill, Governor Sisolak said, “This milestone piece of legislation will also help reduce emissions that negatively affect the health and well-being of Nevadans”. The bill sponsored by Senator Chris Brooks easily made its way through both chambers. A ballot initiative has been approved for 2020 that would enshrine the 50% RPS in Nevada’s constitution, however the Governor expressed the view that he didn’t want to wait another year and a half to get the ball rolling on raising renewable standards. Sisolak signs ‘milestone’ bill increasing Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent by 2030The Nevada Independent

 

OH – Governor Mike DeWine has thrown his support behind a nuclear energy bailout bill. The bill would raise $300 million for nuclear energy by tacking on a $2.50 fee to all residential electricity consumers. These fees would, however, be offset by eliminating a separate fee that pays for renewable energy. Governor DeWine believes that the state’s energy policy should be focused on having a reliable grid while limiting carbon emissions into the atmosphere and that, for the immediate future, it is impossible to dramatically reduce carbon without using nuclear power. Public committee hearings on the bill are ongoing. Opponents of the bill say that it would make clean energy more expensive in Ohio and that it would generate half as much clean energy. Amid bailout talk, Gov. Mike DeWine signals support for nuclear energyColumbus Dispatch

 

OR – Governor Kate Brown has expressed her support for a Clean Energy Jobs Bill that is getting mixed reviews from conservationists and environmental activists. The bill would create a system for reducing the pollution generation threshold that requires companies to purchase permits for any new greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of available permits available would decrease over time. Companies are also given an option to generate “offset credits” which are given as an incentive to complete projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These credits can be traded in to cover emissions over what the cap allows. This bill has failed multiple times in Salem previously and may fail again as some environmentalist groups are opposing the bill due to a provision that allows companies to use credits from other states to purchase permits. Despite this opposition, Governor Brown is prioritizing adoption of an emissions reduction program this legislative session. Oregon Clean Energy Jobs Bill has Mixed Support from Environmental Justice GroupsWillamette Week

 

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo is advocating a Green New Deal that would aim to make the state’s electricity sector carbon free by 2040 and create a council to develop a plan to transition the state to net-zero carbon emissions. However, some environmentalists and advocacy groups have thrown their support behind a competing bill that goes beyond the Governor’s proposal  by  requiring all industries in New York to be carbon-free by 2050, not just electricity. These groups oppose Governor Cuomo’s proposal because they believe it doesn’t go far enough to address New York’s contribution to climate change. Supporters counter that this is the first time that a bill like Cuomo’s has been capable of passing in years with the newly elected Democratic Senate. However, some lawmakers maintain that the Governor’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions only for the electricity sector is closer to the status quo. They believe that more needs to be done to put infrastructure and policies in place that will actually reduce the state’s carbon contribution.  New York's Governor is pitching a Green New Deal. Climate Activists say it's not Green Enough.Stamford Advocate

 

ME – Governor Janet Mills has introduced bipartisan legislation that would create a Maine Climate Council, which would help the state to meet its clean energy goal of reaching 100% renewable energy in Maine’s electricity sector by 2050. The idea for a council was originally announced when Maine joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, which effectively keeps individual states in the Paris climate agreement. Mills was joined by leaders of various food industries as well as State Sen. David Woodsome. The legislation is heavily backed by conservation groups and other groups advocating for a fix to climate change. Maine Climate Council Would Lead State’s 100% Renewable Energy EffortsNorth American Windpower

 

National

This week, the U.S House passed its first major climate-focused bill, HR 9, in almost ten years. The bill would commit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord from which the Trump administration earlier withdrew. It would require the U.S. to meet its commitments to the agreement, including cuts in greenhouse emissions, and prevent the Trump administration from using federal funds to withdraw from the agreement. HR 9 would also require the Trump administration to help ensure that other parties to the accord fulfill their contributions as well. The bill, however, is unlikely to be considered in the Senate. A Bill to Honor Paris Agreement Goals Could be the First Climate Legislation to Pass the House this Year Pacific Standard  Staking Out Battle Lines, House Votes to Keep U.S. in Paris Climate Pact – New York Times

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