Dem senators call for probe into EPA officials over memo language
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill
Two Democratic senators are calling for another probe into the head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air office after comments from an old lobbying client were incorporated verbatim in an EPA memo.
House Tax-Writing Panel Plans May 15 Climate Change Hearing
Kaustav Basu, Bloomberg BNA
Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said in February that he is “committed to passing legislation out of my committee that will help bring down emissions” while also boosting efficiency and clean energy.
Democrats challenge Trump’s UN nominee over climate change
Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
The Democrats say Kelly Craft, who was nominated as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. last week, has invested more than $60 million in oil companies and other fossil fuel interests. Her husband, Joe Craft, is CEO of Alliance Resource Partners, one of the largest U.S. coal producers.
Bernhardt takes the reins
Michael Doyle, E&E News
In a sit-down with E&E News last Friday, Bernhardt detailed his aspiration to meet one-on-one with every member of the House authorizing and appropriating panels that have a handle on Interior programs. It’s an ambitious goal; the House Natural Resources Committee alone has 44 members.
House Energy Panel to Move Fluorochemical Bills, Rep. Tonko Says
Tiffany Stecker, Bloomberg BNA
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is ready to take up several bills to clean up a widespread class of chemicals linked to cancer, immune system deficiencies, and thyroid and liver problems.
Senate Democrats push tax code overhaul to streamline clean energy incentives
Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and more than two dozen other lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday to “overhaul” the federal energy tax code by consolidating 44 energy incentives into three technology-neutral provisions intended to promote energy independence and a low-carbon economy.
With $1 million donation, activists renew Green New Deal push in U.S. election
Valerie Volcovici, Reuters
The Wallace Global Fund, a nonprofit that supports social movements, has given the Sunrise Movement $250,000 and committed $750,000 in grants in 2019 to Sunrise partner groups to advance the goals of the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution introduced this year by progressive Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey that has reignited the U.S. debate around climate change.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Rally for Green New Deal in Washington
Astead W. Herndon, The New York Times
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the popular freshman Democrat from New York who is trying to use her star power to move the Democratic Party to the left, will headline a rally next week in Washington in favor of the Green New Deal, as she seeks to shore up support for the expansive climate legislation that has been met with skepticism by members of both parties.
Oil Slips as Saudi Arabia Is Said to Give Extra Supply to Asia
Heesu Lee and Alex Longley, Bloomberg
Oil traded near $62 a barrel as Saudi Arabia was said to give extra crude supplies to its customers in Asia but they’ll pay a heavy price for it.
Oil and Natural Gas
Trump administration denies Kinder Morgan steel tariff waiver for Permian Basin project
Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle
In a pair of memos signed late last month, the Department of Commerce denied two requests from Kinder Morgan to buy tariff-free steel pipes from Turkish manufacturer Borusan Mannesmann in order to build the Gulf Coast Express Pipeline.
Refiners invest $1 billion to meet shift to cleaner marine fuel: BP
Roslan Khasawneh, Reuters
Refiners around the world have invested about $1 billion so far to produce low-sulfur marine fuel to meet new regulations coming into force in 2020, a BP executive said on Tuesday.
Six Years Ago, He Helped Expose VW’s Diesel Fraud. This Year, G.M. Let Him Go.
Jack Ewing, The New York Times
In 2013, he was part of a small team of engineering students in West Virginia whose research helped expose Volkswagen’s decade-long conspiracy to lie about its diesel cars’ excessive emissions. The German carmaker has paid $23 billion so far to resolve criminal charges and lawsuits in the United States, and $33 billion over all.
Fringe demand goes mainstream: Stop drilling and mining
Adam Aton, E&E News
A growing number of presidential candidates want to lock down the vast fossil fuel deposits sitting beneath federally owned lands and waters. President Obama resisted such calls until the end of his term, when he halted new leases for coal mines and some offshore drilling.
Utilities and Infrastructure
Experts assess damage after first cyberattack on U.S. grid
Blake Sobczak, E&E News
The hack itself occurred two months ago, on March 5, when a “denial-of-service” attack disabled Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance devices ringing power grid control systems in Utah, Wyoming and California, according to multiple sources and a vague summary of a Department of Energy filing.
Volkswagen Revives Push to Separate Peripheral Units
Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg
Volkswagen AG is renewing efforts to sell minority stakes in non-core operations to streamline its business and focus on the main passenger-car brands, according to people familiar with the matter.
Toxins in the ground: Inside America’s most polluted coal ash site and industry’s struggle with federal rules
Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive
For utilities that have dealt with adverse impacts of the contamination publicly, pressure to clean up is mounting. But the federal regulations intended to direct cleanup efforts leave many dumpsites untouched, and the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of eroding oversight further in a rulemaking proceeding that began in March of last year.
Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese Electric Cars Seen Likely to Last
Keith Naughton, Bloomberg
With China bent on dominating the future of electric vehicles, President Donald Trump is likely to erect trade barriers targeting that technology in the form of stiff new tariffs that will have staying power, according to a consultant on the country’s auto market.
Tesla Plans to Sell Owners Cheaper Car Insurance
Leslie Scism, The Wall Street Journal
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has been working with a unit of Virginia-based Markel Corp. and another company, which hasn’t been named, to offer the branded insurance, according to Markel and regulatory insurance filings in California, where Tesla is based.
Duke Energy Indiana sees lower coal inventories
Bob Matyi, S&P Global Platts
Duke Energy Indiana, the state’s largest electric utility, says its coal inventory continues to drop, aided in part by a strong late winter burn, but it has no plans at this time to buy any additional coal for 2019, according to a new regulatory filing.
“We don’t have a choice”: Colorado coal counties try to plan for unsure economic future
Judith Kohler, The Denver Post
From the Western Slope of Colorado, to the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, to the mines in Appalachia, communities heavily reliant on coal production are facing a new economic reality: If the viability of those mining jobs is waning, what does the future hold?
As Saudi Arabia Builds A Nuclear Reactor, Some Worry About Its Motives
Geoff Brumfiel, NPR News
Saudi Arabia’s plans appear, on paper, to be entirely peaceful. But some arms control experts are concerned that its nuclear energy ambitions may also be part of its ongoing rivalry with Iran, which already possesses dual-use technology that could aid in the production of a nuclear bomb.
Climate change missing as US defends Arctic policy
Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
The Arctic is melting, but don’t ask U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to talk about climate change. Nor to agree on a text that mentions it.
Start-Ups Hoping to Fight Climate Change Struggle as Other Tech Firms Cash In
Nathaniel Popper, The New York Times
It is common wisdom in the tech industry that it is much easier to raise money for a software company than it is for a start-up that wants to work in biotechnology or energy. The current wave of internet-focused start-ups going public, and reaping billions of dollars for investors, has hardened the bias against so-called hard technology.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
It is time for America to boost its dominance in artificial intelligence
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, CNBC
When America agreed to stop underground testing of nuclear weapons, supercomputers from the U.S. Department of Energy provided the precise and sophisticated simulations necessary to ensure the arsenal’s ongoing effectiveness.
Once again, the U.S. embarrasses itself on climate change
Joel Clement, The Washington Post
The Trump administration is so fearful of acknowledging the reality of climate change that White House negotiators are trying to erase all mention of it and the Paris Agreement from a multinational statement about the Arctic region, The Post reported last week.
Trump is rolling back our protections — but there is time to undo the damage
Avi Garbow, The Hill
President Trump hailed his administration’s deregulatory agenda claiming to have already canceled or delayed over 1,500 planned regulatory actions in December 2017. He stressed his desire for “every cabinet secretary, agency head and federal worker to push even harder to cut even more regulations in 2018,” saying “I don’t know if we’ll have any left to cut, but we’ll always find them.”
The emergence of cost effective battery storage
Stephen Comello and Stefan Reichelstein, Nature Communications
Energy storage will be key to overcoming the intermittency and variability of renewable energy sources. Here, we propose a metric for the cost of energy storage and for identifying optimally sized storage systems.