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POLITICO New York Energy: Oil terminal expansion nixed -- Murphy gets wind wish -- Water authority inspires 'golden parachute' ban

By Marie J. French and Danielle Muoio | 05/23/2018 09:59 AM EDT

OIL TERMINAL EXPANSION NIXED — POLITICO's Marie J. French: The company behind a proposed expansion of a crude oil shipping terminal near the Port of Albany has withdrawn its permit application and plans to scale back its proposal. The 2013 proposal by Global Partners to install a boiler at its existing facility to transfer thicker crude oil from rail to barges on the Hudson River had sparked intense local opposition and multiple lawsuits. The Massachusetts-based company on Tuesday withdrew its air permit application, which included that proposal, and says it will resubmit a scaled-back plan to the state Department of Environmental Conservation later this year. "Global expects to soon submit an application to modify its Title V air permit for the Albany Terminal," the company's lawyer wrote in a court filing. "At this time, those modifications will include a reduction in the amount of crude oil handled through the terminal and will not include a system for the heating of crude oil." The move comes as the amount of oil shipped through the Global Partners terminal has dropped amid a slump in global prices. The Albany facility had become a hub for oil from the Bakken shale in North Dakota to the East Coast in recent years, drawing concerns from local officials about the safety of oil trains passing through the area. Read more here.

— "Protecting the environment is a top priority and DEC will rigorously review any new modification request to ensure it complies with all state rules and regulations and the environment and public health are protected," the agency said in a statement.

MURPHY GETS WIND WISH — POLITICO's Danielle Muoio: The federal government on Tuesday agreed to extend the public comment period on proposed lease sales for offshore wind in the New York Bight area, a decision influenced by a letter Gov. Phil Murphy sent to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. In early April, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division of the Department of the Interior, published a "call for information and nominations" from companies interested in procuring wind energy leases in New York Bight, an area that extends from the shallow waters off Long Island to the New Jersey coast. The comment period was set to close May 29, but BOEM extended the deadline by two months. "As a result of stakeholder requests, including Gov. Phil Murphy, for an extension of the comment period, BOEM will be accepting comments on the Call for Information and Nominations through July 30, 2018," a BOEM spokesman told POLITICO in a statement. "During the extension, BOEM will also be conducting additional engagement with key New York Bight stakeholder groups, such as commercial and recreational fisheries and the maritime navigation community." Murphy, in a May 4 letter to Zinke, had requested a 180-day deadline extension. Read more here.

WATER AUTHORITY INSPIRES 'GOLDEN PARACHUTE' BAN — Buffalo News' Matthew Spina: "The State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday to ban golden parachutes as lavish as one the Erie County Water Authority wrote into a contract this year. But the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate, which wants to place its own limits on the severance that can go to managers leaving New York's public authorities. Unless the competing measures are reconciled into identical bills approved by both houses, neither can reach the governor's desk to become law. The Assembly bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster, after The Buffalo News revealed that a six-figure golden parachute was packed into a new contract for Earl L. Jann Jr., the Water Authority's Republican-picked executive director. With Democrats poised to take over the agency this year, its Republican-run board of commissioners in January gave Jann a new contract requiring that he collect hundreds of thousands of dollars if fired without cause. The contract stipulates that Jann collect his approximately $150,000-a-year salary through the year 2020 if he is let go at any time before then without good reason." Read more here.

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— Environmental groups, including NRDC, are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to set limits for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

— A railroad operator in Pennsylvania believes he can help turn around Warren County's tourist rail line.

— The Department of Public Service has proposed expanding the current value stack to more types of distributed energy resources.

— Billionaire Paychex founder Tom Golisano is continuing his battle against property taxes as he rails against geese pooping on his lakehouse's lawn.

— An Albany firm has been hired to clear out asbestos and tear down the remaining buildings at the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. site in Star Lake.

— A bill by state Sen. Patty Ritchie, to include a non-voting representative from the Department of Defense on Article 10 siting boards near a military installation made it out of committee.

— About 87 percent of the solar in New York is distributed rather than utility scale, according to a recent report.

— ICYMI: United Westchester, a group of local officials and others, released a report recommending changes to NYSEG and ConEd's storm response following the two March Nor'easters.

— Several black bear sightings have been reported in the Glens Falls area.

— Metrus, an energy efficiency financing company, has signed an agreement with National Grid to provide services.


— The Trump administration has vowed to address PFAS chemicals in New Jersey drinking water, following a Harvard study that said the contaminants show up in the state's water more than the majority of states.

— New Jersey lawmakers want to use PACE financing to advance clean energy and storm resiliency projects.

— Lyme disease is on the rise in New Jersey.

— ICYMI: New Jersey is challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval of the PennEast pipeline in appeals court.

EPA REVERSES COURSE ON PFAS SUMMIT — POLITICO's Emily Holden and Annie Snider: The Environmental Protection Agency temporarily barred journalists and the public from a national summit Tuesday addressing toxic chemicals contamination in drinking water, a week after top agency officials' effort to delay publication of a study on those chemicals came to light. EPA later reversed course and said it would allow reporters to attend the afternoon sessions of the summit, three hours after initially ejecting the media. But that didn't reassure activists from the communities that have been exposed to the chemicals, known as PFAS, who were allowed little access to the summit. Read more here.

FACTS UNDERCUT GRID RELIABILITY CONCERNS — Bloomberg's Ari Natter: "Energy Secretary Rick Perry has invoked doomsday scenarios to argue that the shuttering of nuclear and coal-fired power plants will put the U.S. power grid at risk, leaving elderly Texans without air conditioning and New York's financial center vulnerable to a crippling blackouts. ... There's just one problem: Independent researchers and the department's own data say the problem doesn't exist." Read more here.

TRUMP ADMIN WANTS BEAR HUNT RULES EASED — The Guardian's Oliver Milman: "The Trump administration is attempting to repeal a rule that bans the shooting of bear cubs, use of dogs and bait to hunt bears, and killing caribou from motorboats in Alaska's federal wildlife refuges." Read more here.

STORAGE VS. GAS — Platts' Jared Anderson: "The degree to which energy storage can compete economically with natural gas peaking plants is still being determined, but better price signals are needed to incentivize the most cost-effective reliability solutions regardless of technology, experts and analysts said Monday." Read more here.

FLORIDA CITIES HAVE HIGH CLIMATE RISK — Bloomberg's Amanda Albright and Danielle Moran: "The picturesque Florida cities of Miami Beach and Sarasota carry high investment-grade credit ratings and are popular travel destinations. They're also two of the most exposed U.S cities to climate change in the country, according to a new analysis by advisory firm Four Twenty Seven." Read more here

PAID TO CHARGE — UtilityDive's Maloney: "A lot of analysis has been done around the variety of revenue streams an energy storage system can earn by providing products and services such as energy, capacity or frequency regulation, but what if a storage system can be paid for charging?" Read more here.

HAWAII LAVA APPROACHES POWER PLANT — USA Today's Denise Laiteinen and John Bacon: "Authorities were scrambling to firm up contingency plans Tuesday as lava pouring from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano slowly encroached on a power plant on the Big Island." Read more here.

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