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Blog posts : "coal settlement"

Energy Update, April 10, 2008

April 10, 2008
In the States

AL – Alabama’s Governor Riley is supporting a measure in the state House which would simultaneously lower and temporarily raise taxes on oil companies. The bill is designed to ensure that companies, most notably Exxon Mobil, do not receive tax refunds on natural gas totaling more than $100 million, the legitimacy of which is the subject of a legal dispute. The House Appropriations Committee approved of the measure on Thursday. Panel OKs bill for higher gas taxMontgomery Advertiser

AK – Governor Palin has expressed support for a plan that would allow BP and ConocoPhillips to build a natural gas pipeline through Alaska and Canada to deliver the fuel to Canadians and possibly to the lower 48 States, despite the fact that the plan bypasses the state’s bidding guidelines. Last year, the governor signed those guidelines, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) to encourage ideas on pipeline development within the state, which resulted in a plan by TransCanada which has yet to be decided upon. ConocoPhillips, BP propose Alaska pipelineSeattle Post-Intelligencer and Palin praises gas pipeline planJuneau Empire

AR – Governor Beebe has signed a new severance tax increase on natural gas into law. The previous law had not been updated in over 50 years, making it one of the lowest tax rates in the country. The new tax rate is expected to bring in $100 million per year. Beebe signs severance tax hike into lawLog Cabin Democrat

CA – Organizations in support of alternative energy in California have expressed opposition to a ballot initiative that would require drastic increases in the production of alternative energy within the state. The state already has strict requirements the amount of energy to come from renewable sources in the coming years; the initiative being introduced by a father-son duo of billionaires from Arizona strengthens those requirements but these opponents, while sympathetic, believe there are too many loopholes and rules to be effective and enforceable. The initiative currently has enough signatures to get on the ballot and enjoys 75% support from the public. Opponents say California power initiative is ill-advisedLos Angeles Times

CO – The company whose bid to build two coal-fired power plants in Kansas was twice rejected by the governor, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, is making plans to build a nuclear power plant in eastern Colorado to meet increased demand. The company says the project is not related to the proposed coal plants in Kansas. Tri-State contemplates nuclear plant near Colo.Lawrence Journal-World

CT – A series of barriers has been built which is keeping Connecticut utilities from fulfilling this year’s requirement that 5% of energy delivered must come from renewable carbon-free sources. The requirement has pushed demand for wind turbines and solar panels beyond the point that the alternative energy industry can supply, leaving utility companies without enough production power to meet the requirement. The state itself has few resources which would allow it to create such a high percentage of alternative energy in such a short time span since there is little wind and the deployment of solar takes so long. And while alternative energy production is popular with politicians and residents, individuals with homes near the proposed energy production sites have opposed the installation of the facilities. One proposed solution is to promote the generation of alternative energy power in other states in the New England area and buy the power from them. Connecticut’s clean energy policy creating demandThe Hartford Courant

FL – Following up on his executive order requiring the increased use of alternative energy sources, Governor Charlie Crist has put forward energy bills in the state’s House and Senate which would allow for more nuclear power plants within the state. The bills’ introduction has met a mixed reaction from environmental groups in the state, some of whom have praise for the possible reduction in greenhouse gases, and others who have concerns about the safety of transporting and storing nuclear waste. Florida may see more nuclear plantsFlorida Capital News

KS – The state Senate has overridden Governor Sebelius’ veto of plans to build new coal-fired plants in the State. 32 out of 40 Senators voted for the overturn, making the House the only obstacle to an overruling of the Governor. The Speaker of the House claims to have a veto-proof majority, though a similar measure passed this week with just 83 votes – one vote shy of a veto-proof majority. The legislature has adjourned for three weeks before a wrap-up session without a vote on an override in the House. State Senate overrides Sebelius coal plant vetoLawrence Journal-World and House closer to veto override of billThe Hays Daily News and Coal plant issue left hangingThe Wichita Eagle

MD – The state legislature adjourned its session with a mix of approval and denial for Governor O’Malley’s energy bills. The most ambitious of these, which would require the state to lower emissions of greenhouse gases 25% by 2020 and by 90% by 2050 passed the Senate, but dies in a House committee on the last day of session. Other bills requested by the governor did pass, though, including one that sets a target of 15% energy reduction in the state by 2015 and another that requires energy utilities to double the amount of renewable energy by 2022. The governor also got a bill through which allocates money from the sale of greenhouse gas credits to projects for energy efficiency and assistance for energy payments. MD officials pass few bills before ending legislative sessionsNBC4

MN – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is crafting a plan which will require air pollution permit applicants to be subject to an environmental review to ensure the lowest amount of greenhouse gases are expelled as necessary. Minnesota has undertaken several initiatives with the end goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and plans to be part of the Midwest Governors’ Conference to develop a cap-and-trade agreement. Minnesota puts teeth into carbon-reduction policy MinnPost

OR – The details of Oregon’s cap-and-trade laws which will allow it entry into the Western Climate Initiative differ from its neighbors’. While other states plan to enforce the reporting of emissions from large vehicle fleets, all transportation is exempted in Oregon. The state also plans on tighter restrictions on industry than other states, including the reporting of all industrial emissions, no matter how small. Keeping tabs on greenhouse gasThe Oregonian

TN – An energy task force is to be formed by the Governor and charged with studying ways to lessen the energy usage of the state. Officials are optimistic that the audits on state buildings and vehicle fleets will have more impact than those of previous governors due to the increased political will. State says energy-saving effort won’t be short-circuited this timeThe Tennessean

TN – The Senate Tax Subcommittee has approved of a measure that has support from Governor Bredesen which would raise the severance tax on coal derived from Tennessee. An earlier version of the bill set the new rate at 4.5% but has since been revised to an incremental increase up to 3% of gross value. Much of the proceeds would go to reclaiming abandoned mines. Subcommittee OKs increase in coal taxKnoxville News Sentinel

VT – The state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill which will help pave the way toward the upcoming cap-and-trade system, part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The bill would create a greenhouse gas registry and set goals and benchmarks for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The bill must now be passed by the state House and signed by the Governor. Vt. Senate OKs energy, global warming bill, sends to House - The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

National and Regional

Eight states and thirteen organizations will receive billions of dollars in a settlement against American Electric Power Corporation. The company was found to have violated the clean air act and will be required to pay the parties involved over the next five years. Vermont and New York, at least, will use the funds for environmental clean-up and energy efficiency projects. Settlement money to fund green projectsBurlington Free Press

On the Hill

Sen. Barbara Boxer has announced that the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade legislation will be taken up by the Senate on June 2. She and other senators are working to ensure the 60 votes necessary to prevent a filibuster and that the bill is not bogged down by the gathering pile of amendments, many of which are expected to alter the 70% level of greenhouse gas emissions to be cut by 2050. She also said that the option for states to enact more stringent regulations than those of the federal government is a non-negotiable component of the legislation. Senate to take up cap and trade bill June 2; Boxer draws line in sand on state’s rights – BNA (subscription)

About 40 Senate Republicans met privately on Capitol Hill to discuss the need for a consensus on climate change. The Senators gathered as a result of the Lieberman-Warner legislation making its way through the Senate. No consensus was reached after the hour-long meeting, but some did point out that Sen. John McCain, the presumptive nominee, supports a cap-and-trade arrangement and carries greater clout as the potential future head of the party. Senate Republicans seek consensus on greenhouse gases in privateCQ Today

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