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Energy Update: November 9, 2023

In the States

MI: Michigan lawmakers, mostly along party line votes,  have approved clean energy bills with a goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2040 and promoting the use of renewable sources such as wind and solar. Utility Consumers Energy expressed contentment with the legislation's progression and has plans to effectively implement the targets if the bills are enacted, saying “we are pleased with the progress that has been made with this legislation. If the bills are enacted in law, we will work to implement the targets in a way that ensures reliability and holds costs down for all customers.”  Michigan’s Chamber of Commerce says the move toward clean energy is going to hurt businesses and consumers by increasing utility costs. The legislation includes the establishment of a state agency dedicated to tracking clean energy progress and providing aid for low-income residents to support clean energy initiatives. Governor Whitmer is expected to sign the bills into law soon. Bills that would require all Michigan energy to be clean by 2040 headed to Whitmer’s desk—WILX 


OH: Ohio has introduced the "Brightening Ohio Communities Grant Program," allocating $3.1 million to enhance energy efficiency in its poorest areas. Managed by the Ohio Department of Development, this initiative will support energy-efficient lighting installations in public spaces. Gov. Mike DeWine stated, “This program is not just about new streetlights – it’s about creating a brighter and safer future for all Ohioans. Every watt saved translates to real money that our local leaders can use to reinvest in other essential services for our communities. By improving energy efficiency at the street level, we’re making a long-term, sustainable contribution to neighborhoods.” About $130,000 will assist local governments in the grant application, with the rest reserved for updating to efficient lighting technologies. Lydia Mihalik, department director, commended the program's community-driven approach. Each county may receive up to $500,000, with emphasis on Ohio’s disadvantaged communities. New Program to Support Energy Efficiency in Ohio Communities—Business Journal Daily


PA: Pennsylvania has partnered with CNX Resources Corp. to collect comprehensive data on air emissions and water quality at natural gas drilling sites. This collaboration aims to drive future policy changes while addressing concerns about fracking's environmental and health impacts. CNX will report air quality data on a new website and disclose chemicals used in the drilling and fracking processes. Governor Josh Shapiro said, "My Administration is setting a new standard for Pennsylvania's natural gas to be produced in the most responsible and sustainable way anywhere in the world... With this collaboration, CNX is leading the industry in showing how we can reduce pollution and ensure the health and safety of our communities while still maintaining Pennsylvania's central role in the nation's energy economy." Recent University of Pittsburgh studies pointed to potential health risks near drilling zones, underscoring the importance of such initiatives. Pennsylvania and natural gas driller partnering for in-depth study of air emissions and water quality—CBS News


VA: Governor Glenn Youngkin unveiled an agreement to transform up to 65,000 acres of former coal mining areas in Southwest Virginia into energy-focused projects. This initiative complements Virginia's broader energy strategy. Youngkin commented, “This agreement will make Virginia energy more reliable, affordable, and clean while transforming Southwest Virginia into a hub for innovation.” Spearheading the project, Energy DELTA Lab will collaborate with Wise County and Energy Transfer. Their collective aim is to introduce diverse energy technologies on these reclaimed lands, offering a renewed economic spark for the region. By leveraging this initiative, the state hopes to attract high-quality jobs, boost local revenues, and establish Virginia at the forefront of energy production. Gov. Youngkin announces landmark agreement to transform 65,000 acres of mined lands into energy hubs in Southwest Virginia—WSET 


National: Sen. Bill Cassidy introduced his carbon tariff proposal, the Foreign Pollution Fee Act, aiming to impose a levy on imports of fossil fuels, renewable energy, and heavy industrial products. The tariff will consider the emissions intensity gap between U.S. and foreign goods, initially targeting imports that are 50% more pollution-intense than U.S. counterparts, reducing to 25% and then 10%. While it steers clear of taxing U.S. goods, data from the EPA will inform U.S. production data, and national labs will evaluate the emissions intensity of imports. Cassidy positions this bill against pollution and trade malpractices by China and Russia. The proposal, welcomed by some like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, could facilitate a framework for future climate-centered trade agreements. Cassidy shows his carbon hand—Axios  

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