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UTILITIES, RICK PERRY PLAN HAIL MARY IN PUERTO RICO: Utility trade groups and Energy Secretary Rick Perry hosted a round of calls in the last 24 hours with Puerto Rico’s state-run power utility to plan a “new phase” in restoring electricity to the island.
Charge of the light brigade: Participating in the calls, which began late Wednesday, were Perry and Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority CEO Ricardo Ramos, New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil Quiniones, senior officials from the departments of Energy and Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, electric company CEOs, and the heads of American Public Power Association and the Edison Electric Institute, Sue Kelly and Tom Kuhn, respectively.
PREPA CEO Ricardo Ramos had requested help on Tuesday from Kuhn.
Kuhn to the rescue: “While yesterday was effectively day one for this new phase in the restoration effort, we know that our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico have been without power for more than a month,” Kuhn said. “We are committed to resolving problems quickly, and we already are having solutions-oriented conversations, improving supply chain logistics, and dispatching people and equipment to Puerto Rico.”
Cuomo meet Rossello: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced Thursday that New York is sending 350 utility workers and 220 vehicles from public and private electric companies to Puerto Rico.
Challenging and complicated plan: “This still will be a very challenging and complicated restoration effort, but we are committed to supporting the ongoing power restoration process. Strong coordination remains critical,” Kelly said.
HUMANS 'DOMINANT CAUSE' OF CLIMATE CHANGE, MAJOR GOVERNMENT REPORT EXPECTED TO SAY: A major climate change report being released Friday afternoon by the Trump administration is expected to say that it is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming.
I’m coming out: The comprehensive study of climate science by U.S. government researchers, known as the Climate Science Special Report, is part of a larger scientific review called the fourth National Climate Assessment. It is mandated by Congress to be released every four years.
Fears of political interference: A group of Democratic senators this week called on the Trump administration to refrain from "political interference" and not suppress the report.
The New York Times had reported that many scientists who worked on the climate reports feared that the Trump administration would try to suppress them.
What the report will say: In addition to saying that humans are the major cause of climate change, it will say that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization,” according to NPR, which obtained an advanced copy. It notes the past 115 years are "the warmest in the history of modern civilization."
Dilemma for Trump: The findings contradict the Trump administration’s doubts about climate science, and the consensus that humans are the largest contributor of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
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VETS TELL TRUMP ‘LEAVE OUR MONUMENTS ALONE’: A veterans group is running a digital ad campaign this weekend that asks President Trump to leave “our national monuments alone,” according to the Veterans Voice Foundation.
The $20,000 ad buy was made as Trump visits Hawaii this weekend ahead of his tour of Asia. Trump plans to the visit the USS Arizona monument, commemorating the sacrifice of sailors during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
The ad “calls on the president to leave our national monuments alone, reminding him that our public lands are inextricably intertwined with our American history,” the group said in an email.
The ad buy follows other actions by veterans supporting the national monuments this week, including op-eds in local newspapers.
GREENS SUE TRUMP OVER SEA TURTLES: The group Oceana sued the Trump administration over its failure to finalize new protections for Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico sea turtles.
The group said the federal government is stalling the new rules after the Obama administration had proposed new protections nearly a year ago to make shrimp nets less harmful to the marine reptiles.
“At this point, every single day of delay means more threatened and endangered sea turtles dying preventable deaths in fishing nets,” said Lora Snyder, Oceana’s campaign director. “All that remains is approval of the rule from the White House Office of Management and Budget, yet the Trump administration has taken ample time without taking this straightforward step. Any further stalling is unacceptable.” The group filed its suit in District Court in the District of Columbia.
EPA BRINGS CLIMATE REPEAL ROAD SHOW TO COAL COUNTRY: The Trump Environmental Protection Agency will take its road show on rolling back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to West Virginia late this month in a symbolic salute to coal country after the Obama EPA refused to visit the Mountaineer State when it suggested the climate plan.
The visit is part of the public hearing process to vet the Trump administration’s proposed rule to rescind the climate change regulations on existing power plants. The Clean Power Plan had been projected to have closed dozens of coal plants if it were put into effect. The plan was halted by the Supreme Court in February 2016.
The hearing will be held Nov. 28-29, when the EPA will hear from affected communities about the economic and employment impact of the Clean Power Plan, according the Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who oversees the EPA in her role on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
“After years of being ignored by the Obama administration, West Virginians are finally going to be heard,” Capito said. “Our coal miners, their families and entire communities will soon have a chance to share how they have been affected by these far-reaching regulations. I appreciate the Trump administration’s commitment to creating and preserving energy jobs.”
ENERGY WINNERS AND LOSERS IN HOUSE GOP TAX REFORM PLAN: The House tax reform bill introduced Thursday would cut a major tax credit for the wind industry by one-third, but keep many of the tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. The solar industry’s 30 percent tax credit would be unchanged.
Gone with the wind: The bill would trim the wind industry’s 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt hour tax credit to 1.5 cents.
The wind industry says the proposal would disrupt investment planning because producers have been preparing for a phaseout of the tax credit over five years, as Congress agreed to in a bipartisan 2015 agreement.
Under that 2015 deal, the wind credit expires in 2020 and the solar industry’s credit ends in 2022.
Key senator opposes plan: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a key supporter of wind because his state produces a lot of it, said he opposes the House proposal, suggested an impending fight in the upper chamber.
Caveat to consider: Some energy analysts have said falling costs for developing wind and solar power plants means the industries are less dependent on the tax credits.
Nuclear lifeline: The bill also extends a $6 billion nuclear production tax credit.
Nuclear supporters said the extension of the production credit will benefit Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., that is building two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia.
The project, which has faced delays, is the only nuclear reactor under construction in the U.S.
Fossil fuels win: The bill ends some minor fossil fuel tax breaks, including a credit for marginal wells, and the enhanced oil recovery credit. But it maintains the largest tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, such as the intangible drilling cost deduction that allows producers to recover investment costs quickly.
Electric vehicles lose out: The legislation terminates a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles. Electric cars still represent 1 percent of sales in the U.S.
TRUMP TAPS OIL EXECUTIVE TO LEAD ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION: Trump is nominating Linda Capuano to lead the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical agency.
Her resume: Capuano is a fellow in energy technology at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Before that, she was vice president of technology at Marathon Oil, an independent oil company. She would be the first woman to head the EIA.
What she would do: Capuano would lead an agency that provides independent energy information, including data on oil and gas production, prices, stocks, demand and prices.
ACTIVIST SCIENTISTS CELEBRATE LAMAR SMITH’S RETIREMENT: Rep. Lamar Smith, long-time chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election next year.
The Union of Concerned Scientists praised his retirement as an opportunity to put the science committee “back on track.”
“Chairman Smith misused his position to subpoena federal researchers, sow doubt about scientific facts and push bills that would undermine the role of science in policy,” said Andrew Rosenberg, the head of the Union of Concerned Scientists democracy and science program.
Under Smith’s leadership, the committee “became a venue for partisan conflict and political interference in science,” Rosenberg said.
“I hope that the next representative to serve as chair will return this committee to its intended purpose — strengthening America’s scientific enterprise, providing thoughtful and constructive oversight of federal policy and protecting the health and safety of the people Congress is supposed to serve,” he said.
SENATE APPROVES FERC NOMINEES MCINTYRE AND GLICK: The Senate on Thursday afternoon approved the nominations of Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Why it matters: Their approvals to the commission give FERC its full slate of five members for the first time in two years. It comes at a crucial time for the board, which is considering Perry’s proposal to create new rules subsidizing coal and nuclear plants to value the “reliability and resiliency” they offer the electric grid.
Who they are: McIntyre, a Republican former energy industry adviser, will take over as chairman from Neil Chatterjee, who has been serving as chairman in a temporary capacity. He will remain on the board.
Glick was a Democratic attorney for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The other FERC members are Republican Rob Powelson, a former Pennsylvania energy regulator who joined the board this summer, and Cheryl LaFleur, a Democratic holdover from the Obama administration.
Quick studies: McIntyre and Glick, upon being sworn in, will join the board in time to consider Perry’s proposed rule. FERC, which is independent, must respond to the rule by Dec. 11.
U.S. BACKS OUT OF OIL ANTI-CORRUPTION PACT: The Interior Department alerted the head of a 52-nation anti-corruption pact on Thursday that the U.S. will pull out of the organization, citing U.S. law.
Critics, meanwhile, contended the move is a favor to large oil companies such as ExxonMobil that don't want others to know about their taxes.
While the agency said the U.S. remains committed to "fighting corruption" in the oil, natural gas and mining sector, it can no longer be a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, or EITI. The U.S. joined the group in 2014, but it was founded in 2003.
"It is clear that the domestic implementation of EITI does not fully account for the U.S. legal framework," a letter to the director in Oslo, Norway, read. "Effective immediately, therefore, the United States must withdraw as an EITI implementing country."
It does not say exactly what about the U.S. legal framework makes the nation unable to continue under the pact's transparency protocols. The Interior Department says that its office of revenue management intends to internalize the group's standards as far as U.S. law permits.
New York Times Trump administration to promote fossil fuels and nuclear power at Bonn climate talks
Washington Post EPA’s Scott Pruitt and staff to attend chemical industry meeting at luxury resort
Bloomberg Climate change to affect 10 million Americans by 2075, CBO says
Reuters Carmakers plan 400 Europe car charging stations by 2020
Bloomberg Exxon is spending $1 billion a year to research green energy
New York Times Iraqi Kurds’ independence vote exposed risks to energy strategy
SUNDAY, NOV. 5
Daylight saving time ends. You should have moved your clocks back one hour.
MONDAY, NOV. 6
Noon, 1100 Longworth. The House Ways and Means Committee holds full committee markup of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."
5 p.m., U.S. Capitol, Room H-313. House Rules Committee meets to formulate a rule on the "Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017"; and H.R.3441, the "Save Local Business Act."
TUESDAY, NOV. 7
10 a.m., 253 Russell. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet Subcommittee hearing on "Advancing the Internet of Things in Rural America."
10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy Subcommittee hearing on the "Energy Star Reform Act of 2017" and the "Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization Act."
2 p.m., 1324 Longworth. House Natural Resources Committee’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing on "Outer Continental Shelf Discussion Draft," to distribute revenue from oil and gas leasing on the outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal states.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 8
10 a.m., 406 Dirksen. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
holds hearing on the nominations of Kathleen Hartnett White to be a member of the Council on Environmental Quality and Andrew Wheeler to be deputy EPA administrator.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Energy Subcommittee and Environment Subcommittee hold a joint hearing on "Geoengineering: Innovation, Research, and Technology."