Blog posts : "missouri"
State of the State Addresses
Of the 30 Governors who have given their State of the State addresses this year, 17 have specifically discussed energy issues, much of the time in the context of job creation and retention. California Governor Jerry Brown, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said that renewable energy would bring green jobs to their states, while Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin each said that their states’ fossil fuel resources would bring more jobs. Governor Tomblin praised recent oil, coal, and natural gas investments and the jobs they will bring while promising that “I will do everything in my power to make sure that West Virginia is positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity” to build an ethane cracker facility, which he said would bring thousands of manufacturing jobs. Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Maine Governor Paul LePage said that new jobs would arise from low energy costs, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said that the key to economic growth and environmental protection is “sensible, predictable regulations” on energy production, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proposed eliminating a sales tax on energy used for manufacturing as a way to retain their business.
In the face of the slow economic recovery, several Governors have proposed ideas that require no state funds or attract new private investment. For example, Hawaii Governor Neal Abercrombie proposed legislation to incentivize companies to invest in energy infrastructure that would integrate more renewable energy into the grid, saying that “there is no legislation more critical to our future." New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed several new initiatives, including attracting $2 billion in private investment for grid infrastructure and a program to increase energy efficiency in State buildings to be paid for with savings in energy costs. Utah Governor Gary Herbert proposed creating an “energy research triangle” that would pair universities and industry to research energy production technologies. Maine Governor Paul LePage proposed lifting a restriction on the amount of hydroelectric power produced.
Governors commonly reflect on the previous year in their State of the State addresses to evaluate the progress that has been made. California Governor Jerry Brown said that his State’s goal of producing 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020 was ahead of schedule and that billions of private clean energy investments had been made. Delaware Governor Jack Markell said that hundreds of jobs were created in his State last year due to upgrades and conversions of power plants to lower emissions. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick cited his State’s policies on renewable energy in discussing that industry’s seven percent growth in 2011. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin referenced signing an agreement with other states to work with automakers on converting their vehicle fleets to run on natural gas. Governor Hickenlooper also noted an agreement between energy companies and environmental groups to disclose materials used in the hydraulic fracturing process.
Some Governors used their speeches to urge federal government action on energy issues. Utah Governor Gary Herbert said that the federal government needed to continue working with the State on siting and permitting of energy development. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell called on President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to accelerate the timetable for allowing oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coast. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said that he would continue to fight against attempts to increase regulation of coal and other energy resources.
The State of the State addresses announced a range of other proposals, including:
- Washington Governor Christine Gregoire proposing a $1.50-per-barrel tax on oil produced in Washington that would be used to improve infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
- Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber stating that his administration will adopt a ten-year energy plan this year.
- Maine Governor Paul LePage proposing giving ratepayers a choice of whether to purchase renewable or traditional energy.
- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stating his intention to work with farmers to improve their energy efficiency in order to make the State’s agriculture industry more competitive.
- Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin proposing an increase in the amount of renewable energy required in the State’s renewable energy portfolio to 75% by 2032.
Links to all of the Governors’ addresses can be found at the State of the State Speeches Calendar on Stateline.org
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address included an overview of his energy agenda for 2012, which he began to unveil in more detail after his speech. In his remarks, President Obama announced that he is opening 75 percent of potential offshore oil and gas reserves to development and opening enough federal land to renewable energy development to power 3 million homes. The Defense Department will purchase much of that new renewable energy. He also said that his administration would help develop domestic natural gas resources and separately called on Congress to pass legislation to provide production tax credits for renewable energy. In addition, The President called for the disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and proposed providing energy-efficiency incentives to manufacturers. Since the speech, President Obama has released a “blueprint” detailing these proposals, which he calls an “all-of-the-above strategy,” and has gone on a nationwide tour to promote it. The blueprint includes a proposal to incentivize greater use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and calls for doubling the country’s clean energy output by 2035. State of the Union Address Transcript – White House and Energy Blueprint Fact Sheet – White House and Obama pitches ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy – National Public Radio
In the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels criticized the President for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which he said was “perfectly safe” and “would employ tens of thousands.” Governor Daniels called for a free-market approach to energy, with lower taxes and fewer loopholes, fewer regulations, and maximizing domestic energy production. He also characterized the President’s energy policies as “pro-poverty” for increasing consumers’ costs while not improving public health or the environment. Full text of GOP’s State of the Union response – McClatchy
In the States
IA – In a speech to a renewable energy symposium, Governor Terry Branstad praised the wind energy industry in the State, saying that wind power could help achieve his stated goals of creating 200,000 jobs and increasing family income by 25 percent within five years. The Governor also said “I think that Iowa has the potential to be the leader of renewable energy.” Branstad talks alternative energy – Daily Iowan
MO – In the two years since Governor Jay Nixon signed an executive order requiring State agencies to use less energy, Missouri’s government has cut electricity use by 3% and propane and natural gas use by 15%. Following the Governor’s executive order, agencies replaced windows, upgraded lighting, and adjusted thermostats. The overall cut in energy usage by State agencies was 5.5 percent. Mo. Gov. says State cut energy use by 5.5 percent – Bloomberg BusinessWeek
NH – Governor John Lynch, in a press conference with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston, announced the six companies that won a second round of funding from the State’s Green Launching Pad, which provides federal stimulus funds to clean energy companies in an effort to foster innovative energy technologies and create more jobs. Companies receiving the funds focus on a range of technologies, including clean energy storage, and hydroelectric and solar power. Governor Lynch called the first round of the project “a tremendous success,” and that he is “focused on making sure that we are growing the jobs and companies of the future right here in New Hampshire” through the Green Launching Pad. Green Launching Pad winners announced – New Hampshire Business Review and ‘Green’ firms in Granite State get help – Nashua Telegraph
WA – Governor Christine Gregoire has signed a bill that will phase out the State’s only existing coal-fired power plant and ban coal plants from the State in the future. Under the new law, the plant’s owner, TransAlta, must take one boiler at the power plant offline by 2020 and the other by 2025, and establish a $30 million fund for economic development in the county that houses the plant. TransAlta’s CEO, Steve Snyder, said the company plans to build a new gas-fired plant that will open by 2020. TransAlta may also build a wind farm elsewhere in the State and does not plan to eliminate any jobs during the transition. At the bill signing, Governor Gregoire said “Coal power was a part of our past. Our prosperity now depends on our ability to move forward with a clean energy future.” In Centralia, Gov. Gregoire signs bill that ends TransAlta’s coal use by 2025 – Olympian
WY – During a speech at an energy development conference, Governor Matt Mead said that rising oil prices are “a tax on all of us” and that the profitable extraction of energy resources in Wyoming is essential to furthering clean energy goals. Governor Mead said that energy development is vital to the State’s economy, but that it can be done without degrading the environment, saying “we want a clean environment, we want energy development, and those two are not mutually exclusive.” The Governor also said that “there’s just no question” that development must be done “in a timely and efficient manner.” Wyoming Governor Mead insists energy can be developed safely, quickly – Star-Tribune
In the States
MO – The Missouri legislature has passed legislation that keeps the voter-approved requirement that 15% of Missouri’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2021, but eliminates the requirement that utilities purchase energy from producers located in the state or directly from sources outside Missouri. Governor Jay Nixon has not commented on whether he will sign or veto the measure, which would allow utilities to instead purchase renewable energy “credits” rather than require them to obtain energy from renewable projects. Proponents of the bill say that loosening restrictions gives utilities greater flexibility to meet the renewable standard, while opponents say the legislation will result in the same rates for electricity, but none of the environmental or economic benefits from requiring the utilities to obtain a portion of their power generation from renewable sources. Missouri General Assembly kills two rules on renewable energy sources – Kansas City Star
NH – Governor John Lynch has written a letter in opposition to a bill in the New Hampshire State House that would end the State’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Northeast’s cap-and-trade system. The bill, which was introduced in the House Committee on Science, Technology, and Energy, says that the permits required by RGGI have “increased consumer costs for electricity, fuel, and food.” Governor Lynch wrote that prices would not fall after withdrawing from the program since rates are set regionally, but that the State would lose all income from the sale of the permits, about $12 million per year. New Hampshire Governor backs Northeast’s carbon dioxide market – Bloomberg and Governor Lynch opposes RGGI repeal – Office of Governor John Lynch
WI – Legislators will not take up a bill proposed by Governor Scott Walker that would have increased property setback requirements where wind turbines are built. However, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is holding a hearing on a rule that would allow property owners to build wind turbines only 1,250 feet from their property line, as previously proposed by the State’s Public Service Commission. This rule could either move forward or be blocked by a vote of the legislature. Governor Walker’s bill proposed that turbines be set back by at least 1,800 feet and he has said he wants “to see the wind industry, like every other industry, be effective here in the state of Wisconsin,” but that promoting this industry must also be balanced with property rights. Legislature won’t take up Walker’s wind-siting bill – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Some States, facing record deficits for the past few years, are seeking to ensure that no revenue is lost due to technological and environmental advances. Since owners of electric cars use the same roads as gas-powered cars, but do not pay a gas tax that funds those roads, lawmakers in Oregon and Washington have introduced legislation that would charge drivers of electric vehicles either a flat fee or a mileage tax in order to make up for this lost revenue. Oregon’s bill would impose a per-mile tax of 0.6 cents or about $90 per 15,000 miles driven (about the equivalent of the gas taxes paid for a hybrid), while the bill in Washington would impose a flat fee of $100 when registering an electric car with the State. Proposal would charge drivers of electric cars – Register-Guard and Electric car owners might face $100 State fee – Seattle Times
In an effort to support President Obama’s stated goal of deriving 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2035, the Departments of Energy and Interior released a joint plan to spur quick development of offshore wind farms, which includes up to $50.5 million of funding incentives. The funding will be allocated over the next five years and split into three separate initiatives: developing better tools to study and implement offshore wind systems; improving the design of drivetrains inside wind turbines; and removing barriers to the marketplace. The plan also identifies 911 square nautical miles off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia that will undergo early environmental reviews to expedite the process of approving offshore wind development. U.S. selects zones in four States to accelerate offshore wind energy – Bloomberg and Salazar, Chu announce major offshore wind initiatives – EERE News
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa Jackson testified for more than two hours before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, in part to defend her agency’s actions in regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), who is sponsoring a draft bill that would revoke the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, said that "Congress intends to reassert itself in the statutory and regulatory process at EPA and specifically the Clean Air Act." Administrator Jackson said that the Clean Air Act and scientific evidence of global climate change compelled her agency to move forward with regulating greenhouse gases and that the proposed legislation “would eliminate portions of the landmark law that all American children and adults rely on to protect them from harmful air pollution." Global warming heats up Republican attacks on EPA – Washington Post
In the States
MN – Several bills have been drafted that would repeal, to differing degrees, a 2007 bipartisan law that bans new coal-fired power plants and the importing of coal-powered electricity until carbon offsets or a plan to lower emissions are in place. Sponsors are saying that the law places unnecessary burdens on industry, slowing economic recovery once the recession is over. Governor Mark Dayton has not said yet indicated whether he will veto any particular repeal bill, but he did campaign in part on maintaining a moratorium on new nuclear power plants that is a part of the same law. Minn. Republicans hope to undo clean energy policies – Minnesota Public Radio
NM – A State Supreme Court ruling has reversed an order by Governor Susana Martinez that blocked publication of regulations aimed at reducing emissions from utilities and dairies within the State. One of the regulations requires a three percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions every year. The Court ruled that the regulations must be published in the State’s register, but opponents of the regulations plan to work with the Governor and the State legislature to change the rules. Court reverses New Mexico Governor on environmental rules – New York Times
State of the State Addresses
While approximately half of the Governors have given their State of the State or State of the Commonwealth addresses, the realities imposed by the financial downturn caused most Governors to focus their speeches on addressing fiscal difficulties and job creation rather than energy issues. Still, some Governors incorporated energy plans tied to job creation and retention.
Several Governors cited recent energy business investments that would help lead their States to better fiscal times, including South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, and Delaware Governor Jack Markell, all of whom who noted recent increased renewable energy investments or improvements. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said that Nordic Windpower USA’s new plant will create 200 jobs, and proposed to create more through the construction of a new nuclear power plant. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour noted several investments in his State, including coal, oil, nuclear, LNG, solar, ethanol, coal-to-liquids, and carbon capture projects.
A few Governors called for increased domestic renewable energy production. For example, Hawaii Governor Neal Abercrombie expressed support for accelerating renewable energy projects in his State, and improving Hawaii’s energy security. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval called for more renewables on federal lands, saying, “I support all efforts to make Nevada the renewable energy capital of the country.”
Some Governors discussed a mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy resources available to their states. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said he hoped to make Virginia the “Energy Capital of the East Coast” by investing, in part, in solar, wind, waste-to-energy, and biomass, and promoting offshore wind by leasing offshore parcels for wind energy production and serving as headquarters for the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. But he also called for increasing oil, coal, gas, and nuclear energy production. While Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said that investments in hydroelectric power and renewable energy grants in his State would create jobs and help the State meet his goal of 50% renewable power by 2025, he also wants to lower taxes on oil production in order to create more jobs. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead discussed “value-added” projects such as combing wind power with gas-fired turbines, as well the manufacturing of wind turbine components. In addition, he supports continued use of coal while making it a cleaner fuel through carbon capture and sequestration, and also advocates greater use of carbon injection technologies for enhanced oil extraction, as well as coal gasification.
In discussing his State’s abundant fossil fuel resources, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said he will aggressively pursue the State’s lawsuit against the U.S. EPA over mountaintop removal regulations, and that he supports development of the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia and carbon capture and sequestration.
Links to all of the Governors’ addresses can be found at the State of the State Speeches Calendar on Stateline.org
President Barack Obama gave his annual State of the Union speech to Congress last week, during which he issued a challenge of producing 80% of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. President Obama said that all forms of energy production are needed to meet this goal, and mentioned nuclear power, clean coal, and natural gas in addition to wind and solar. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who gave the Republican response to the State of the Union, emphasized the need for less government spending and a more limited government rather than new investments. Several high-ranking Democrats expressed support for the idea of a broader clean energy mandate while most Republicans remained skeptical about incentivizing one energy type over another or imposing mandates on the private sector. Senators laud “clean energy” push – Politico and State of the Union (Transcript) – White House and State of the Union Response (Transcript) – House Budget Committee
According to a new report commissioned by the federal government as required in the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, the United States military would not receive any significant benefit from greater use of alternative fuels. The study, performed by the RAND Corporation, said that focusing on energy efficiency would have a greater impact on lowering greenhouse gases. The report received criticism from Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for the Navy Thomas W. Hicks, who said he was not consulted by RAND, and that the report ignores energy security issues, and from environmental groups, biofuels proponents, the Algal Biomass Organization, and others. RAND says that while the military is a major consumer of liquid fuels, it still only uses two percent of the country’s daily intake, and since some biofuels are still in their infancy, the money spent on alternative fuels in the military would have a small effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative fuels don’t benefit the military, a RAND report says – New York Times
In the States
HI – Almost three years after State officials signed a general agreement with the Federal government to develop a cleaner energy future, Hawaii is making progress in diversifying its energy sources. A State law passed last year requires Hawaii’s electric utility company, Hawaiian Electric, to use renewable sources for 40 percent of its power by 2030. At the same time, it must cut projected electricity consumption by 30 percent. This past September, State regulators ruled that the utility will be paid a guaranteed amount no matter how much energy it sells. The new financial model will allow Hawaiian Electric to become more of a power distributor than power producer. Another regulatory change will allow individuals to get paid by the utility for producing their own power. An expansion of smart-grid technologies is also underway and will help Hawaii increase the use of renewable power generated from available wind, solar and geothermal resources. Another project could link wind farms proposed for the islands of Lanai and Molokai with “power-hungry” Oahu through an undersea cable. In describing Hawaii’s need to change course to meet its energy needs, outgoing Governor Linda Lingle gave an interview in which she said, “We had to be transformational. It couldn’t be incremental any longer.” State lays groundwork for more clean energy -- Maui News
MO – Governor Jay Nixon has endorsed a plan that would allow utilities to charge customers for early costs of developing a new nuclear power plant, a practice currently prohibited by State law. Missouri utilities have expressed interest in expanding the State’s only current nuclear plant, but have not yet decided whether to build it. If the proposal is approved, the utilities will pass on to consumers the $40 million in site permits required to determine the viability of the project. Nixon endorses idea of second Callaway County power plant – News Tribune
NJ – Governor Chris Christie has filed a motion to stop a proposed offshore natural gas terminal and a 50-mile pipeline from being constructed. Governor Christie said that he “will not subject our state’s shore and economy to the environmental risks that are inseparable from such a project.” The terminal is one of three proposed liquefied natural gas terminals to which the Governor expressed opposition earlier this year; the other two plans were withdrawn. Gov. Christie opposes proposed natural gas facility off Asbury Park – The Star-Ledger
The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced a new initiative – Smart From the Start – intended to help identify and pre-approve appropriate locations along the Atlantic Coast for offshore wind turbines. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar introduced the new program at a public event at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland and said it was the result of “a lesson learned” from the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts. The site for that project was approved in April, but construction has been stalled by opponents who have brought legal challenges. Interior officials are hoping the new site selection process will allow new leases to be granted as early as 2011.Administration wants to speed up process for windmills in Atlantic – Washington Post
The New York Times recently ran a special energy section outlining recent changes in the world’s energy sources and consumption, along with the roles politics and economics have played in those changes. Although Republicans generally favor nuclear energy and have now gained the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, a “nuclear renaissance” may not happen quickly because of Republican opposition to carbon pricing that could help make nuclear power more competitive. While coastal States slow or halt building new coal power plants, retiring plants in the South, Midwest, and Mountain regions are likely to be replaced with coal, and the developers are hoping to use new technologies to lower or capture greenhouse gas emissions. Solar gardens are being built on the edges of some towns to capture energy without requiring trees to be cut down for roof installations, while biologists ensure that minimal impact is made on large solar projects in the desert. And though two years ago, experts were warning that oil and gas supplies were being depleted, new-found deposits and new technologies to obtain it have extended that timeline for several decades, though with predictable downsides, such as the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. G.O.P. gains on Capitol Hill may not advance nuclear power and In the heartland, still investing in coal and There will be fuel and The benefits of solar with the beauty of trees and Concerns as solar installations join a desert ecosystem – New York Times
At the World Mayors Summit on Climate in Mexico City, a group of 138 Mayors from around the world signed an agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions in their cities. The cities will post their commitments and progress on the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR), a website that allows uniform reporting tracking. Signatories to the pact include some major world cities, such as Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, and Jakarta, and also include four U.S. cities: Burnsville, MN; Des Moines, IA; Los Angeles, CA; and North Little Rock, AR. Calgary, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Mexico City, and Nagpur have already entered their data onto the website. The agreement was meant to be a sign of the willingness of Mayors and cities to work on climate issues and as a catalyst for action at the upcoming global climate change summit in Cancun. Mayors flaunt resolve in advance of Cancun – New York Times and Mayors sign global pact to tackle urban emissions – CNN International and cCCR Signatory Cities [pdf] – cCCR and cCCR Pioneers – cCCR
In the States
FL – Governor Charlie Crist has called a special session of the State legislature to begin next week. The sole purpose of the session is to pass a constitutional amendment banning offshore oil before August 4, which would put the amendment on the ballot this November. Offshore drilling is already banned in Florida, but the Governor has expressed concern that future legislators might overturn the existing ban, which they could not do to a constitutional amendment. Crist calls for special session to ban offshore oil drilling near Florida – The Ledger
MO – Governor Jay Nixon has signed a bill into law that will make it easier for residents to pay for energy efficiency upgrades on their homes. Under the new law, cities and counties will be able to issue low-interest bonds to homeowners for home improvements such as new windows or insulation. The loans would be paid back to the State through a special 20-year assessment on property taxes. Mo. Gov. signs bills on energy efficiency, KC zoo – Bloomberg Business Week
OH – Governor Ted Strickland has announced the new Northwest Ohio Solar Energy Hub, a conglomeration of colleges, universities, and career centers aimed at promoting solar energy and related jobs and businesses. A $250,000 grant has been awarded to the hub, which will allow collaboration between these entities, the solar industry, and the manufacturing sector on a plan for urban economic development and revitalization. Governor announces Ohio solar energy hub – Solar Novus Today
UT – Governor Gary Herbert testified at a Republican House and Senate Western Caucus hearing in Washington, DC about the challenge of developing energy resources in Western States. He said that his goal is to streamline the process for energy companies interested in developing resources in the State and that uncertainty about the Obama administration’s policies on energy development on public lands is “spooking” companies considering investments in Utah. The Governor also said that Congressional Republicans and Democrats need to work together on these issues, that he thinks “it is foolish for us to fight and rant and rave,” and that he is working to build a relationship with the Obama administration. Gov. Gary Herbert urges cooperation with Obama administration on issues of the West – Deseret News
Governors from both parties in eleven States on the East Coast have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) against a proposed electric transmission line from the Midwest to the East Coast. The proposed line would allow Midwestern States to send renewable energy produced there to the Eastern States. The Governors disapprove of the line because they would like to create their own alternative energy rather than import it from other States, and because they believe ratepayers in the Eastern States would shoulder the costs, estimated at $16 billion. Signatories include Governors M. Jodi Rell (R-CT), Jack Markell (D-DE), John Baldacci (D-ME), Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Deval Patrick (D-MA), John Lynch (D-NH), Chris Christie (R-NJ), David Paterson (D-NY), Donald Carcieri (R-RI), Jim Douglas (R-VT), and Bob McDonnell (R-VA). Eastern Governors protest Midwest wind transmission line – Des Moines Register
Six New England Governors and five Eastern Canadian Premiers participated in a conference to discuss energy goals. In the end, the leaders agreed to reduce energy use in buildings 20% by 2020 through higher standards in building codes, examine implementing a low carbon fuel standard, and promote solar power by establishing a regional usage standard. The Governors separately agreed to petition the US government to establish a high efficiency standard on furnaces in New England. Massachusetts promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy goals – GovMonitor
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he will bring energy and climate legislation to the Senate floor by the end of July. The legislation is still a rough draft and will be the subject of intense negotiations in the coming weeks, but Senator Reid has said it will contain a section on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would apply only to electric utilities rather than the entire economy. A number of Senators from both parties have expressed skepticism that the bill will pass the procedural phase, with liberal Democrats saying it is too weak, moderate Democrats weary of costly new federal requirements, and Republicans opposed to the process being used to move he bill forward and certain elements of the legislation, including proposed limits on carbon emissions. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has already said that he will not vote for a motion to proceed, forcing Senator Reid to secure at least two Republican votes for cloture, though potential supporters of a more comprehensive approach such as Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) have signaled that they will not support the legislation if it caps greenhouse gas emissions in any way. In a move to build support for the measure, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), a key supporter, is set to meet with the main electric utility trade group on possible concessions on existing Clean Air Act regulations, causing some environmental groups who say they may withdraw support if the concessions are too great. Reid warms to July climate vote – Politico and Clock winding down on Senate’s carbon cap efforts – New York Times and Nelson says no to climate vote – Politico and Utilities, signaling support for carbon caps, want ‘relief’ from other air pollutants – New York Times
MT – It’s been three years since Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission applied for permits to build a coal-fired power plant in
MT – A compromise has been reached by regulators in the decision of who should pay for “regulating reserve power” or the power the utility would have to produce to make up for lost power when wind turbines are not turning. The utility company said the wind company should pay for the energy, while wind companies maintained they were being overcharged. The Public Service Commission decided that the wind companies should pay a discounted rate to the utility companies. Montana regulators decide wind integration charges – Houston Chronicle
NJ – New Jersey is contemplating building a new nuclear plant in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project is in its earliest stages of studying sites and reviewing permits. Environmental groups have already expressed opposition to the Governor’s energy plan which includes the construction of more nuclear plants. New Jersey weighs building another nuclear plant, first since 1973 – New York Times
OH – As part of a comprehensive energy bill, Ohio lawmakers have agreed to change the incentive system for power companies. Until now, utilities have been encouraged by the state to produce as much power as possible. The new law would require the companies to produce less power next year, and a small rate hike, which would fund energy efficiency programs. The bill would also require 12.5% of the energy in the state’s portfolio to come from renewable sources with benchmarks for each year in between. Lawmakers push energy efficiency – Toledo Blade and Group says wind an economic boon – Toledo Blade
National and Regional
Five governors gathered at Yale University's Conference of Governors on Climate Change along with state officials from other states and signed a declaration that the states will continue to fight global warming and that Congress and the next president should work with them on establishing a new national policy. Eighteen governors have signed the declaration. Governors convene at Yale to fight global warming – Hartford Courant and Sub-national action on climate change – Yale University