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Energy Update: September 29, 2017

In the States

IL – Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing to replace regulations and limits on the rate of pollution from individual coal plants in the state with annual caps on the tons of emissions released by the entire group of facilities. The eight affected coal plants, which are based in central and southern Illinois, are all owned by Dynegy, a Houston-based company. The Rauner administration said “the goal is to keep the financially struggling coal plants open by giving…more flexibility to operate individual generating units, several of which are not equipped with modern pollution controls.” State Attorney General Lisa Madigan has questioned the Governor’s move, noting that the “proposed pollution caps are set so high that the state would end up encouraging Dynegy to pollute more” by operating its older plants more frequently. Alec Messina, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, disagrees with General Madigan’s assertions and said this was the first time Illinois was placing a global cap on the entire fleet of coal plants in the state. Pollution could increase as Rauner EPA moves to rescue coal plantsThe Chicago Tribune

MS – Governor Phil Bryant was nominated to serve a second term as chairman of the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), a nonpartisan interstate compact organization founded in 1960 and composed of 16 southern states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The SSEB is charged with guiding regional energy policy while also informing national perspectives. This is Governor Bryant’s second tour as chairman following his 2013 leadership during which he also unveiled Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap program. "Mississippi is an energy state, and it is good to help lead one of the nation's most influential and effective organizations for energy promotion," Governor Bryant said in a written statement. "America cannot only be energy independent but energy dominant." Governor Bryant is succeeding Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Bryant gets second stint chairing energy boardThe Clarion-Ledger

ND – Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based company that is building the Dakota Access pipeline, sent the State of North Dakota $15 million “to help pay law enforcement bills related to months of sometimes violent protests over the project’s construction” on federal lands earlier this year. The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline began transporting oil from the state to an Illinois distribution plant on June 1, despite ongoing federal lawsuits by American Indian tribes. North Dakota also recently received a $10 million grant from the Department of Justice to cover some of its policing expenses. In a statement, Governor Doug Burgum said, “We remain committed to pursuing all available avenues to ensure that North Dakota taxpayers alone don’t bear the enormous costs of law enforcement, life safety, and other resources expended on the protests.” Dakota Access developer gives $15M toward security costsAssociated Press

Regional and National

Governor Andrew Cuomo, co-founder of the U.S. Climate Alliance, announced the organization’s members “are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement” while simultaneously releasing the group’s annual report. The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico that was founded in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the international accord. Member states – CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MA, MN, NY, NC, OR, PR, RI, VT, VA, and WA – have committed to advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement, track and reporting on their process, and accelerating new and existing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting clean energy development. “While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change,” said Governor Cuomo, “Governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action.” Cuomo touts growing climate alliance with fellow GovernorsPolitico

Four Governors – Brian Sandoval of Nevada, John Kasich of Ohio, Jerry Brown of California, and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts – are set to take the stage as the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in mid-October. The Governors will lead a discussion on clean energy economic development and their states’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Sandoval, the current chair of the National Governors Association, is hosting the event along with former United States Senator Harry Reid. Governors meeting Las Vegas to discuss clean energy initiativesThe Las Vegas Sun

Governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Roy Cooper of North Carolina sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission in opposition to imposing tariffs on solar panel products. The Governors noted such tariffs could cost the United States at least 88,000 jobs and “inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries.” Additionally, the Governors cited a study by GTM Research that found a tariff would lead to a 50% drop in utility-scale and consumer-installed solar installations. Hickenlooper, three other Governors against tariffs on solar productsThe Denver Post

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