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POLITICO New York Energy: Con Ed's rate case; Trump and the EPA

01/27/2017 10:00 AM EDT

By David Giambusso and Marie J. French

Good morning! You are reading a complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Energy newsletter. Pro subscribers receive a premium version of this newsletter, which includes an enhanced look-ahead and robust analysis of the energy news driving the day, weekdays at 5:45 a.m. Contact us here to learn more.

CON EDISON'S RATE CASE TRANSFORMATION - POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: State approval of Consolidated Edison's rate case, which contains funding for smart meters and incentives for cutting demand, includes some of the most concrete steps yet toward transforming New York's utilities. The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a three-year rate hike for Con Edison that will raise customer bills about 2 percent each year. While incorporating a rate increase and 9 percent guaranteed rate of return, the measure also includes specific steps toward the complex, multi-part Reforming the Energy Vision effort. "Giving the utilities an opportunity to really align their interest with consumer interests and really promote distributed energy resources and energy efficiency as a component of their business requires a change in regulatory approach," outgoing PSC chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said at Tuesday's meeting. "And I think the (incentives) in this rate case really make a very significant step forward." REV seeks to turn utility companies into platforms for distributing energy, developing markets around energy efficiency and distributed generation and cutting demand to lower the cost of maintaining the grid. It's part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

--ICYMI: The Daily News' Glenn Blain on what the rate hike means for consumers.

CITY TRAINING FOR BUILDING EFFICIENCY - POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: New York City has graduated its first class of building operators trained in energy efficiency measures and plans to graduate hundreds more this year.

MANHATTAN'S RESILIENCE PLAN - The New York Times' David W. Dunlap: "There is a breathtaking view of the mid-Manhattan skyline,
pierced by the Empire State Building, from the 48th floor of the taller of two new copper-clad apartment towers along the East River, just south of the United Nations. No plutocrat will enjoy it, however. This impressive penthouse aerie is hogged by five emergency generators."


--Constitution Pipeline supporters and backers say a shift in federal policy gives them leverage on reviving project, which New York blocked.

--The state's Public Employee Federation has concerns about the freeze on EPA contracts and grants because of potential impacts on staff levels at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

--A board that will award money from unallocated electricity generated by NYPA's St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project to northern New York organizations met for the first time.

--There are concerns the freeze on the EPA could delay progress at a Holley Superfund site in Orleans County.

--National Grid is moving forward with a plan to install smart meters in Clifton Park as part of a demonstration project.

--Opponents want DEC permits for the Dominion New Market capacity expansion project rescinded. See our story about the approvals here:

--Environmental groups praised the Public Service Commission's decision to approve a lower-than-requested rate increase for Suez Water in Rockland County.

--Montgomery County passed new rules to make municipal buildings more energy efficient.

--The Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection has developed a new website for residents to find information about groundwater and drinking water quality.

--The town of Moreau's sewer plan includes illegal charges to property owners who won't benefit from an expansion.

--Richard Smith, whose family owns property that had belonged to one of the town of Naples' first settlers, Samuel Parish, has been on a hunt over the correct name for the land.

GOOD FRIDAY MORNING: Let us know if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at and And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here's a handy sign-up link:

TRUMP COULD REVISIT DECADES OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin: "The new administration may revisit environmental regulations adopted not only by the Obama administration but by previous presidents, according to President Trump's former Environmental Protection Agency transition team leader, Myron Ebell."

--Trump could seek to cut EPA's workforce and slash the agency's budget by $1 billion.

--Bill Nye, man of science, says Trump is in denial and could spur massive job growth with clean energy projects.

--Some climate change reports have vanished from the Department of State's website.

ABOUT THAT CROWD - The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty and Juliet Eilperin: "On the morning after Donald Trump's inauguration, acting National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds received an extraordinary summons: The new president wanted to talk to him. In a Saturday phone call, Trump personally ordered Reynolds to produce additional photographs of the previous day's crowds on the National Mall, according to three individuals who have knowledge of the conversation."

KEYSTONE'S RETURN - The Wall Street Journal's Amy Harder: "For the Keystone XL pipeline, maybe the third time really will be the charm. Two days after President Donald Trump called for an expedited review of the project, and for the third time since 2008, Keystone developer TransCanada Corp. has applied for a permit from the State Department for the contentious pipeline project."

U.S. MOTORISTS LIKELY TO FOOT BILL FOR BORDER TAX - Bloomberg's Joe Carroll and Laura Blewitt: "U.S. motorists probably would foot the bill for President Donald Trump's 20 percent border-wall tax as domestic refiners reliant on Mexican crude pass on the cost."

EXXON'S NEW BOARD MEMBER - The Washington Post's Steven Mufson: "Besieged by court battles over its past positions on climate change, ExxonMobil has added a climate scientist to its board of directors. Some environmental groups see that as a positive thing; others call it too little, too late to make amends for contributing to global warming."

AL GORE'S CLIMATE EVENT - The Washington Post's Brady Dennis: "It turns out there will be a conference in Atlanta next month about climate change and its effects on public health. It just won't have the federal government behind it. The reason? Former vice president Al Gore. "He called me and we talked about it and we said, 'There's still a void and still a need.' We said, 'Let's make this thing happen,'" said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association."

OP-ED: DOOMSDAY CLOCK NEARS MIDNIGHT - Lawrence M. Krauss and David Titley, writing in the New York Times: "It is now two and one-half minutes to midnight. Our organization, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, is marking the 70th anniversary of its Doomsday Clock on Thursday by moving it 30 seconds closer to midnight."

SCIENTISTS TURN HYDROGEN TO METAL - The New York Times' Kenneth Chang: "Squeezed between two pieces of diamond, hydrogen has been transformed into a metallic form believed to exist inside giant planets like Jupiter, scientists reported on Thursday."

WORKERS CLEAN UP GIANT IOWA DIESEL SPILL - The Associated Press' David Pitt: "Workers were expected to complete cleaning up Thursday about 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel that spewed from a broken pipeline onto an Iowa farm, the largest U.S. diesel spill since 2010, federal authorities said."

NIGERIAN SPILL LAWSUIT BLOCKED - The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Kent: "Royal Dutch Shell PLC can't be sued by two Nigerian communities in U.K. courts, a judge ruled Thursday, dealing a blow to efforts to seek damages in European courts for oil spills in the West African country."

IRELAND DIVESTMENT VOTE - Climate Home's Megan Darby: "Ireland could become the first country in the world to fully divest its sovereign wealth fund from fossil fuels, after a parliamentary vote on Thursday."


--Oil prices picked up Thursday despite supply gains, the Wall Street Journal reports.

--Natural gas also gained on low storage levels, the Journal reports.

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