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Energy Update, Oct. 5

October 5, 2012

In the States

AK – Governor Sean Parnell took his second state-sponsored trip to Asia to promote Alaskan natural gas and to advance a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that would allow for exports to the Pacific Rim. Convinced that a market exists in Asia, namely in Japan and South Korea, Governor Parnell has asked Alaskan officials, producers, and industry experts to remain committed to the future development of a major gas pipeline. Touting a decades-old trading partnership with Asia, Governor Parnell stated he will continue to meet with higher-level Japanese and South Korean officials and businessmen to champion Alaska as a source of supply. “My goal is simply to work to grow demand for Alaskan gas in Japan by opening their eyes to the opportunity that can come with LNG from Alaska,” said the Governor. Parnell travels to Asia to promote Alaska natural gasThe Anchorage Daily News

 CA – Hoping to increase the State’s renewable energy usage while cutting costs, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed several energy-related bills, including the Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012. The law requires California to coordinate the implementation of state energy security strategies and environmental policies with the U.S. Department of Defense. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research will directly work with several state energy agencies to ensure military involvement and collaboration in the development of renewable energy technologies. “The health of the environment, job creation and indeed, the security of the nation, depends on how we end America’s dangerous addiction to foreign oil,” said Governor Brown. Jerry Brown OKs bills to expand renewable energy in CaliforniaThe Los Angeles Times and Calif. Governor signs the Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012California Newswire

Regional News

The Southern States Energy Board has selected Governor Phil Bryant as its chairman. Governor Bryant, who will serve in this position for one year, will take over the chair’s responsibilities for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, whose one-year term recently expired. A bipartisan, interstate nonprofit organization comprised of 16 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the Southern States Energy Board seeks to promote economic development in the South through innovations in energy and environmental policy and programs. “For our nation to become more energy independent,” said Governor Bryant in a press release, “we must recognize the importance of a forward-thinking approach to energy, and continue to develop a comprehensive energy policy that works.” Governor Bryant’s selection as chairman was announced days before his Governor’s Energy Summit, which brought together industry experts to discuss Mississippi’s energy future. Gov. Bryant appointed to chair bipartisan energy boardThe Clarion-Ledger

 Twenty-two states have now joined the coalition led by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to spur the production and the purchase of vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Earlier in July, the Governors met with American auto manufacturers in Detroit, Michigan to announce the coalition’s intent to purchase thousands of CNG vehicles. The preliminary results of the multistate request for proposals were released yesterday, with dealerships representing Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, and Honda submitting more than 100 bids. Governor Hickenlooper announced he expects the partnership to purchase as many as 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles annually. According to the coalition, whereas approximately 10 million CNG vehicles run worldwide, no more than 200,000 operate in the United States. Colorado Gov: States willing to buy up to 10,000 natural gas vehicles annuallyThe Detroit News and Okla., Colo. Govs. Report on 22-state CNG PlanThe Denver Post

 National News

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Alliance Pipeline’s plan to build a 79.3 mile pipeline to carry natural gas from North Dakota to the Chicago, Illinois market. The new lateral pipeline, which will connect to a larger main line, is projected to deliver up to 10 million cubic feet of natural gas per day when completed. According to the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the State’s natural gas production represents 1% of total natural gas production in the nation. "We are very pleased to obtain regulatory approval for this pipeline, which will help address North Dakota's need for natural gas transportation infrastructure," said Mike McGonagill, Chief Operating Officer for Alliance. North Dakota gas pipeline approvedUnited Press International

 Citing national security concerns, President Barack Obama ordered a Chinese company to remove all property, installations, and any interests in an Oregon wind farm project. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency committee headed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, recommended the President prohibit the acquisition of the wind farm by Ralls Corporation, a company owned by two Chinese executives affiliated with a large Chinese machinery manufacturer. The wind farm site is located near a restricted naval training facility where drones and other weaponry is tested. Stating it was not a political issue, President Obama, who is being sued by the company, said he was not “interested in triggering an all-out trade war that would damage both economies.” Chinese-owned company sues Obama over wind farm project Bloomberg

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Energy Update, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011

In the States

NE – After calling a special session to determine how to approach environmental issues related to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, Governor Dave Heineman is now endorsing an accelerated approval process for the project.  Governor Heineman said “I certainly support expediting everything we're doing with the Keystone XL project,” which includes not only federal permitting but a State environmental review that is expected to take up to nine months.  The Obama Administration has said that it will not make a decision on whether to issue the required permits for the project until 2013.  Heineman supports speeding up Keystone XLLincoln Journal Star

NJ – Governor Chris Christie has approved a final master energy plan for New Jersey that would lower the percentage of energy required to come from clean sources by 2020 from 30 percent to 22.4 percent.  The revised plan calls for changing the focus of solar production incentives from residential installations to large-scale collection centers and increasing the amount of solar energy credits utilities will be required to buy.  The plan also calls for building a new nuclear power plant and convening a State panel to discuss the future role of nuclear energy.  The plan includes a longer-term goal to derive 70 percent of the State’s electricity from clean sources, which include nuclear, natural gas, and hydroelectric power.  Natural gas, nuclear get bigger role in energy master planNorthJersey.com and NJ energy master plan finalized: action on solar, but environmentalists still not happyNJ.com

WA – Governor Chris Gregoire is meeting with stakeholders to discuss potential changes to the State’s definition of clean energy.  A mandate passed by voters requires larger utilities to generate three percent of electricity from clean sources starting January 1, 2012, gradually increasing that percentage in coming years up to 15 percent in 2020.  Currently, the mandate does not consider existing hydroelectric energy, which generates two-thirds of the State’s electricity, to count toward meeting the goals. However, legislation is expected to be introduced in the next session that would modify the treatment of this source of energy.  Governor Gregoire has indicated she supports allowing some incremental hydropower and biomass improvements to count towards meeting the State’s clean energy standard, along with other changes to the law, such as delaying some requirements for smaller and slowly growing utilities, and allowing utilities to offset future requirements with excess conservation.  Governor weighs changes to Wash. clean-energy lawSeattle Post-Intelligencer

Federal News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft report following a three-year study on hydraulic fracturing that suggests that the method of retrieving trapped natural gas may have contributed to the contamination of the water supply in central Wyoming.  The study notes that the gas wells are unusually shallow and are thus more likely to affect the water supply, but that synthetic materials used in the hydraulic fracturing process, including benzene and methane, were found in monitoring wells near the gas wells.  The study will now be peer-reviewed and available for public comment.  Wyoming Governor Matt Mead called for more testing to be done and called the study “scientifically questionable” while a local citizens’ group praised the EPA for offering protection to residents of the affected area.  E.P.A. links tainted water in Wyoming to hydraulic fracturing for natural gasNew York Times

Despite the fact that many energy-related bills have been proposed, introduced, or debated in the current Congress, almost no legislation has been enacted this year except for a bill to improve pipeline safety.  Included on the list of inaction is President Barack Obama’s proposal that he unveiled at this year’s State of the Union address: a renewable standard requiring 80 percent of the country’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2035.  Other languishing energy proposals include 15 narrowly focused bills that passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support, efforts to respond to the Gulf oil spill and West Virginia coal mine explosion disasters, a range of House-passed measures to increase domestic energy production, limitations on EPA rulemaking authority, and initiatives to address climate change concerns.  The Obama Administration has moved forward with several regulatory initiatives, including new fuel efficiency standards for personal and industrial vehicles, offshore energy production oversight, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gases.  However, increased partisanship in Congress has made it more difficult to pass legislation than in previous years when lawmakers approved bills encouraging renewable energy production, increasing fuel efficiency, and increasing offshore energy production.  While some lawmakers from both parties are planning on pushing for new energy legislation in 2012, they acknowledge that the chances of passage are slim; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Jeff Bingaman said, “Given the makeup of this Congress, it’s very hard to see how we get serious legislation of that sort through both houses and to the president for his signature.”  Big energy measures to slide past in 2012 - Politico

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