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Blog posts : "lieberman warner"

Energy Update, June 18, 2008

June 5, 2008
In The States

CA
– Supporters of an alternative energy ballot initiative have gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot this fall, and has been certified by the Secretary of State. Initiative 07-0066 will require the state’s utilities to generate 20% of their power from alternative energy by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 25% by 2050. Four more measures make fall ballotSacramento Bee (free registration required)

FL
– New solar plants are being proposed in Florida in response to high fuel costs. One utility in the state is attempting to build a new solar concentration plant which would become the largest in the state, creating 75 megawatts. This is still significantly less power than is created with traditional power plants. Other projects include traditional solar cell plants, creating a total of 35 megawatts. FPL seeks OK for large solar plant in Martin, with 2 more in wingsPalm Beach Post

MN –
A new law in Minnesota requires that all diesel sold in the state be made up of a blend of 80% regular diesel and 20% biodiesel by 2015. There are a series of steps, however, that must be met before that happens. Every three years, the legislature must approve of an increase in biodiesel blend, first to 5% (up from the current 2%) in May 2009, then to 10% and then 20%. The legislature will determine whether to raise the biodiesel mandate by evaluating supply and demand of the product. Also, 5% of the fuel must come from non-traditional resources such as algae or waste oil. Minnesota Passes B20 MandateRenewableEnergyWorld.com

UT
– State Department of Environmental Quality Director Rick Sprott is distributing a plan to help Utah lower its carbon emissions while not creating new restrictions or mandates on businesses or individuals. Sprott used examples of greater efficiency, such as in autos or coal plants, and iterated that the plan is not a mandate, but is only to guide future policy decisions. State setting greenhouse gas goalsDeseret News

National News


The US Senate has voted to debate the Climate Security Act legislation (S. 3036) which would impose a cap-and-trade system on emissions which contribute to global warming. The first day of debate focused on the cost of implementing the bill, a major concern in the veto threat. Talks quickly broke down, however, when Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to introduce Sen. Barbara Boxers substitute amendment. To protest a different issue, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked that the bill be read aloud, causing a four-hour wait before talks could begin again. Senate Republicans also expressed concern at the speed with which the bill was moving, saying that the importance of the legislation requires lengthy debate and many amendments.
Senate moves ahead on climate billCQ.com (subscription) and Statement of administration policyExecutive Office of the President and Senate debate on climate legislation stallsCQ.com (subscription)

A bi-partisan majority passed legislation in the US House (HR 6049) that would both create new and extend existing tax breaks totaling over $55 billion for individuals, businesses, and energy producers. Thirty-five House Republicans and all but one Democrat voted for the bill. Many Republicans opposed it because it does not extend the Alternative Minimum Tax patch and it includes pay-go provisions. The bill includes billions in tax relief for renewable energy production which, if nothing is done, would expire at the end of 2008. If signed into law, the tax incentives would expire at different times: wind energy production incentives would expire in 2009 while solar, geothermal, and other clean energy production tax breaks would expire at the end of 2011. Tax breaks for homeowners who install solar technology would be extended to 2014. Other uses for this money include projects for carbon capture, energy efficiency, and conservation, and various tax breaks and credits for education and homeowners. This tax break is not offset by a reduction in tax breaks for oil and gas companies, making it potentially more appealing to the Senate.
House votes to extend tax breaks to individuals, businessesCQ.com (subscription) and House-passed legislation to extend tax breaks faces uncertain future - CQ.com (subscription) and US House passes renewable energy tax credit extension billrenewableenergyworld.com and Summary of H.R. 6049: Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (pdf)US House Ways and Means Committee

After dozens of hearings as chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and a year of crafting legislation, Sen. Edward Markey will introduce a cap-and-trade bill next week which would decrease American carbon emissions even more than the Lieberman-Warner legislation. The new bill would cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 85% by 2050, auction nearly all pollution credits, and use half of the estimated $8 trillion in proceeds to subsidize energy costs for low- and middle-income households and the other half to promote alternative energy.
Markey unveils sweeping new global warming billBoston Globe and Markey unveils sweeping climate change legislationPolitico and Executive summary of Rep. Markey’s climate legislation (pdf)Congressman Markey’s Website

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Energy Update, June 5, 2008

May 20, 2008
In The States

AZ – Governor Napolitano has vetoed legislation that would have stopped that state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The attempted ban arose out of frustration that state lawmakers felt when the governor directed the DEQ to follow the same rules as the California Air Resources Board. Supporters of the failed bill have suggested they will attempt to pass it in other environmental legislation or sue the state to stop the regulations from taking effect. Governor vetoes bill voiding vehicle emission standardsArizona Daily Star

NH – The state Senate has passed legislation (HB1434) that would implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The state House had already passed the same bill, but needs to approve changes made by the Senate. The governor has expressed his support for the bill, which would be revisited if a federal cap-and-trade plan is implemented. NH Senate gives OK to global warming initiativeBoston Globe

NH – The New Hampshire legislature has sent a bill (HB1628) to the governor which would act as an incentive for homeowners to build small alternative-energy production facilities. Those who put electricity onto the grid could be paid as much as $6,000 depending on the cost of the system and how much power is generated. New Hampshire and Vermont Renewable Energy Program UpdatesRenewableEnergyWorld.com

VT – Vermont’s Green Mountain Power Corp. is offering incentives to homeowners who supply the power grid with solar energy. Customers supplying the solar energy will now be given $0.19 per kilowatt-hour as opposed to the standard $0.13 per kilowatt-hour. New Hampshire and Vermont Renewable Energy Program UpdatesRenewableEnergyWorld.com


National News

Nuclear energy producers are eager to see a cap-and-trade system enacted because the proposed system in which polluters will have to pay for their emissions only counts carbon output as pollution, not nuclear waste. This exclusion, combined with the fact that the rates of nuclear power generators are less regulated than those of coal or natural gas, has led some nuclear power companies to expect additional profits in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Carbon caps may give nuclear power a liftWall Street Journal

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is proposing an amendment to the Climate Security bill which would add new funding to the bill. The proposed changes would increase the amount the government would use to help consumers offset rate hikes from utilities to $911 billion and introduce $800 billion in tax breaks. Some new measures would help businesses, including $213 billion in subsidies to corporations that sell energy and manufacture products which require a great deal of energy to create such as cars or paper. Corporations would further be allowed to offset up to 30% of their carbon-cutting obligations by planting trees or investing in anti-deforestation programs. Boxer to propose changes to climate billWashington Post and New global warming measure would provide tax relief to consumersCQ.com (subscription)

3,100 wind turbines were installed in the United States last year, contributing to a total number of about 25,000. Although the power generated from these turbines amounts to only 1% of the national power production, the US Department of Energy has said that as much as 20% of US electricity could be generated by wind by 2030. Production of wind energy will continue to rise as new wind farms are being created faster than ever. Several companies have recently invested funds in the hundreds of millions of dollars each to create wind farms that will produce electricity to power hundreds of thousands of homes. Quietly, wind farms spread footprint in U.S.Washington Post

John McCain has highlighted the issue of climate change in his campaign speeches and suggested that the US needs to cut its carbon emissions. All remaining presidential candidates now support reducing carbon emissions to offset climate change. McCain’s plan calls for 60% drop in emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, which is less than Lieberman-Warner’s 70% and the 80% reductions called for by Senators Clinton and Obama. Greenhouse gas must be capped, McCain assertsNew York Times

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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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Energy Update, April 4, 2008

April 4, 2008
In the States

CO – A bill has been put forth in the legislature, HB 1350, which would allow state and local governments to loan money with low- or no- interest to homeowners for the purchase and installation of solar panels. The bill is designed to remove the barrier of upfront costs which homeowners face when purchasing a solar system. A similar bill, SB 184, would provide loans to low-income homeowners for energy efficiency projects like new windows or insulation. Bill gives solar panels brighter possibilitiesDenver Post

IL – Plans to build a coal gasification power plant on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale have stopped in the pre-feasibility-study phase. Officials said the results of the study provided “more questions than answers,” but said they will continue pursuing new opportunities and remain proactive. No real answersThe Southern

KS – The state Senate has produced another bill which would allow two new coal-fired power plants to be built in Kansas, despite the veto of Governor Sebelius last month. The House created another similar bill last week. It appears doubtful that the House has enough votes to override the governor’s veto at this time. New coal-plant bill emerges in Senate Lawrence Journal-World

MD – Governor O’Malley attempted to pass several energy proposals in the final two weeks of this legislative session. As of Friday, two bills had passed in both the House and the Senate: one (SB 205) sets a goal of reducing consumption of energy by 15% by 2015 and the other directs money received from the auction of carbon credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative toward renewable energy projects (though the exact amounts will have to be worked out). Another bill which has passed the Senate (SB 209) would increase the amount of renewable energy in the state’s portfolio with a goal of 20% by 2022. Senate gives initial approval to energy billsThe Daily Times and Senate rejects energy billBaltimore Sun and Part of O’Malley’s plan hits snag in SenateWashington Post and Senate reverses on energyBaltimore Sun and Constellation settlement gets preliminary approvalWashington Post

MO – Kansas City is waiting for Governor Blunt to decide whether the city will get a waiver, allowing the sale of gasoline with no ethanol. The state passed a law last year that requires all gasoline sold in the state to be an E10 blend, unless the governor grants a waiver. The city wants the waiver because of concerns over smog. KC awaits Blunt’s waiver of ethanol blend mandateThe Kansas City Star

OH – The Republican-controlled state House is rewriting Governor Strickland’s energy bill, and is pushing for a change in the way rates are determined. There is also disagreement on the way a mandate on changing the renewable energy portfolio should be implemented. The rewrite is due to be released soon. Ohio House wrapping up rewrite of energy billCleveland Plain Dealer

TN – The plan to ban coal mining above 2,000 feet to protect mountains and streams, which had mild support from the governor, has died in a House subcommittee and will not be discussed this session in the Senate. Bill on surface mining haltedKnoxville News Sentinel

VA – Governor Kaine has said that he has no control over whether a new coal-fired power plant will be built in VA’s coal country and that he does not oppose it anyway. He agrees with Dominion, the energy company attempting to build the plant, that more power will become necessary as more people move to the state and said that “We are not going to eliminate coal, a native source that we have, as one of the sources that will power our country. The portion [of the energy supply] that is coal is going to get smaller, and it is going to get cleaner, but we are not going to abandon coal from the portfolio.” Kaine says coal-burning power plant is necessaryThe Washington Post

WI – Governor Doyle has announced a new energy initiative that would increase the amount of energy from renewable sources to 25% of all energy within 17 years, produce 10% of all renewable energy products, and lead the nation in researching alternative energy. The plan calls for interaction between the state’s Office of Energy Independence and communities from around the state to find the best solution for that particular community. Another goal of the initiative is to provide green-collar jobs, which one organization estimated to be over 35,000. Doyle pushing for renewable energyThe Badger Herald and Governor launches program focusing on renewable fuels, energy research Green Bay Press–Gazette

WV – A new study from WVU claims that residents that live in coal-producing counties have a greater risk of early death and disease than those that do not, even after controlling for other factors such as age, obesity, smoking, and diet. Governor Manchin said he has no immediate plans to investigate the effects of coal in WV and the state’s Dept. of Environmental Protection secretary says that such an investigation “isn’t DEP’s job.” Manchin plans no investigation of coal, health Charleston Gazette

On The Hill

Lobbyists are counting on grassroots efforts to help pass the Lieberman-Warner bill and the Renewable Energy Tax Credits bill. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and other volunteer-driven organizations are using education centers to motivate citizens to call their representatives while industry groups and the National Taxpayers Union’s have a mixed advertising and grassroots campaign. Green lobbyists seek grass-roots lovePolitico

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