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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Upstate Energy Jobs: PFOS contamination risks -- Long Island water crisis -- Divestment push

By David Giambusso and Marie J. French | 05/09/2017 09:39 AM EDT

PFOS CONTAMINATION RISKS — POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: Nearly 50 airports, air bases and training facilities used firefighting foam that may contain PFOS in training exercises, according to a state survey of those locations. Firefighting foam containing the toxic chemical linked to cancer used at Stewart Air National Guard Base has been pegged as the cause of a water contamination crisis in Newburgh and sparked a nationwide testing program by the Department of Defense. Its use at Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton has also been linked to nearby water contamination. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation began surveying facilities across the state about the type of firefighting foam that may contain PFOS in summer 2016. About 190 airports, DOD facilities and fire training sites were asked about whether the foam had been stored or used for training or emergencies on site, according to data obtained by POLITICO New York through a public records request. More than 1,800 fire departments were also surveyed — those results are not included in this analysis. Five DOD facilities, 27 training facilities and 15 airports responded that they'd used "Class B" firefighting foam for training. About 14 others formerly or currently store it on-site. Read more here and view a map of the sites here.

LONG ISLAND'S WATER CRISIS — The New York Times' Lisa Foderaro: "The Great South Bay, flanked by Fire Island and the South Shore of Long Island, once produced half the shellfish consumed in the United States, and supported 6,000 jobs in the early 1970s. Since then, the health of the bay has declined. Housing development meant more septic tanks depositing more nitrogen in the ground. The nitrogen flowed to rivers and the Great South Bay, leading to algae blooms. It depleted salt marshes that serve as fish habitat and suppressed oxygen levels. One result is that the shellfish industry has all but collapsed. The annual harvest of hard clams, for example, has fallen more than 90 percent since 1980. After sweeping legislation that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed in April, Suffolk County and other local governments in New York are hoping to deal with their aging — or absent — sewer lines, drinking water systems and other water infrastructure." Read more here.

DIVESTMENT PUSH — POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: Environmental activists want to pressure the New York state and city comptrollers to divest their multi-billion pension funds from fossil fuel companies. Supporters of fossil fuel divestment were in Albany on Monday to lobby lawmakers on a measure to force state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to drop the top 200 coal, oil, gas and other fossil fuel companies from the pension funds they run." Read more here.

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STAY AHEAD — GO PRO: What if you could start your workday with exclusive insights into the energy developments unfolding in Albany and City Hall? POLITICO New York Energy Pro delivers actionable analysis of the hot topics in New York energy policy — from Public Service Commission politics to clean water protections — plus a comprehensive look ahead all in a single read. LEARN MORE.

NEW JERSEY PROBABLY GETTING BACK IN RGGI — POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: No matter who is elected governor in November, the chances that New Jersey will re-join the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are growing more likely, with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican front-runner, saying she would support a return to the program. Read more here.


— Pollution cleanup work is expected to start this summer on a $60 million development proposed for an island in the Hudson River between Green Island and Troy.

— Lake Ontario is higher than it has been in mid-May in at least 157 years, and could soon break the all-time record. Winds and waves began to subside Monday along the Lake Ontario shoreline, but concern about flooding, erosion and property damage did not.

— Four peregrine falcons have hatched on top of Rochester's Times Square Building.

— Soil sampling has started to gauge the effect of Tonawanda Coke's illegal air pollution in the Town of Tonawanda, Kenmore and Buffalo.

— Farms in western New York fear immigration arrests will scare off legal migrant workers.

— NYSERDA has designated Yonkers a Clean Energy Community, recognizing the city's leadership in reducing energy use, cutting costs and driving clean energy locally. White Plains also earned the designation.

— The state Canal Corporation is using a non-toxic dye to find leaks in the Feeder Canal in Glens Falls, as it does occasionally.

— A new study shows that energy storage, along with a portfolio of other clean energy sources, can replace Indian Point. The study was commissioned by the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium.

— Fort Drum boasts a 60-megawatt biomass power plant.

— The City Council environment committee approved a bill Monday updating the city's approach to separate sewer runoff, including a provision for more green infrastructure.

** A message from Upstate Energy Jobs: Thanks to New York's nuclear energy and innovative policies like the Clean Energy Standard, the future is bright for New York. Together they work to keep our air clean, our economy thriving, and our community members employed. Learn more at **

SCIENTISTS DISMISSED — The New York Times' Coral Davenport: "The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency's regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research." Read more here.

PARIS POLITICS — Vox's David Roberts: "At first, rumor had it that the globalists were winning and Trump would keep America in. Then, late last week, rumors tore around that the nationalists were triumphant and Trump would withdraw. According to Axios, the business lobby simply can't bring itself to believe that he'll actually do it. But environmentalists are on the verge of panic." Read more here.

BAKED ALASKA — The New York Times' Henry Fountain: "As global warming continues, a big unknown is what will happen to the carbon balance between the atmosphere and the land, especially in the far north. ... A new study suggests that Alaska, with its huge stretches of tundra and forest, may be shifting from a net sink, or storehouse, of carbon to a net source. " Read more here.

COAL OBIT (AGAIN) — UtilityDive's Robert Walton: "The White House has systematically been following through on pledges to undo Obama-era regulations, with an eye towards reviving the coal industry. But even if the administration succeeds in significantly rolling back restrictions on fossil fuel energy production, there is a growing belief that it will do little to stem the long-term decline of the industry." Read more here.

NEXTERA ASKS FOR TEXAS REDO — Wall Street Journal's Peg Brickley: "NextEra Energy Inc. has asked Texas energy regulators to reconsider their decision to reject its takeover of Oncor, one of the country's largest electricity transmissions businesses." Read more here.

SPILLS BY DAKOTA ACCESS BUILDER — Washington Post's Steven Mufson: "The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Monday blasted the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners for a 'pattern' of 18 spills of drilling materials and said that the size of the biggest spill could reach 5 million gallons, more than double original estimates." Read more here.

PUMP PRICE ALGORITHM — Wall Street Journal's Sam Schechner: "One recent afternoon at a Shell-branded station on the outskirts of (Rotterdam in the Netherlands), the price of a gallon of unleaded gas started ticking higher, rising more than 3½ cents by closing time. A little later, a competing station 3 miles down the road raised its price about the same amount. The two stations are among thousands of companies that use artificial-intelligence software to set prices." Read more here.

BRITISH COLUMBIA ENERGY RISKS — Bloomberg's Natalie Obiko Pearson: "British Columbia Premier Christy Clark's push to expand oil pipelines and develop a liquefied natural gas industry on Canada's Pacific Coast is at risk as she faces a tight election battle Tuesday with a rival who vows to turn back the clock on energy projects." Read more here.

PARTICLE ACCELERATOR SET TO OPEN IN MIDDLE EAST — The New York Times' Dennis Overbye: "In what they hope will be a spark of light in years of darkness, a group of scientists circulated a beam of electrons around a ring in Allan, Jordan, in January. The group, called Sesame, is made up of physicists from several countries that rarely talk to one another — Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan — and also from the Palestinian Authority, but whose scientists are determined to collaborate." Read more here.

GERMANY'S NUKE BILL — Bloomberg's Brian Parkin: "Germans already footing the second-highest electricity bills in Europe may face even higher costs from the country's decision to exit nuclear power early next decade." Read more here.

PAKISTAN'S SOLAR CHANCE — Reuters' Rina Saeed Khan: "Solar energy production in Pakistan is poised to take off — just as the South Asian country is ramping up coal production to help plug a crippling power crisis, energy experts say." Read more here.

OIL, GAS THREATS HAMPERING TURKEY, CYPRUS TALKS — The Associated Press: "The spokesman for Cyprus' government says Turkey's 'threats' to prevent oil and gas exploration off the ethnically divided island could be designed to scuttle ongoing reunification talks." Read more here.


— Oil prices edged higher on Monday as investors hope supply cuts will materialize, The Wall Street Journal reports.

** A message from Upstate Energy Jobs: New York's dedication to critical energy sources such as nuclear energy provides 25,000 New Yorkers with employment and contributes $3 billion to our state's economy. It also puts our state at the center of the movement for carbon-free power. Currently, our states' nuclear energy facilities keep more than 16 million tons of carbon-dioxide out of our air, and in 12 years the total will reach 180 million. Groundbreaking policies like the Clean Energy Standard (CES) are dedicated to utilizing this incredible energy source to allow us to reach the State Energy Plan goal of 40 percent carbon-free energy generation by 2030, while also providing quality jobs in our state - for less than $2 a month. This benefits all New Yorkers. Supporting policies like the CES means building a bright future for New York State's economy, energy demands, environment, and communities. Learn more at **

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