Dems look to bypass EPA with asbestos ban
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill
In a Wednesday hearing before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, Democrats grilled EPA chemical staff on why the agency hasn’t taken more restrictive actions on the harmful substance three years after passing a law to give the agency more authority to regulate dangerous chemicals.
McConnell Mulls Making Senate Democrats Vote Again on Climate
Dean Scott, Bloomberg BNA
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is readying a vote to force senators to indicate whether they back keeping the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement. McConnell’s strategy is similar to the one he used in March to force Senate Democrats, including those hoping to win the White House in 2020, to say whether they back the ambitious climate change and green jobs platform known as the Green New Deal.
Bernhardt bucks Zinke on part of reorganization plan
Michael Doyle, E&E News
In a congressional appearance yesterday, Bernhardt largely promoted the reorganization plan initiated by Zinke, but he also admitted concerns about the former Navy SEAL’s notion of establishing a “unified regional commander,” similar to the military’s.
Researchers develop plastic that they are calling the ‘Holy Grail’ of recycling
Morgan Ostalter, The Hill
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory wrote in Nature Chemistry that they had designed new plastic, called polydiketoenamine or PDK, that could be disassembled down to the molecular level and reassembled into different shapes, textures or colors multiple times.
Trump tweets — and Dems pull two bills from floor
Juliegrace Brufke, The Hill
House Democrats pulled two bills from the floor schedule on Wednesday after President Trump tweeted his opposition and encouraged Republicans to vote against one of the measures.
Oil steadies as U.S.-China trade war balances inventory drop
Shadia Nasralla, Reuters
Oil prices steadied on Thursday as an escalating trade battle between the United States and China counteracted upward pressure from a surprise decline in U.S. crude inventories.
Oil and Natural Gas
North Dakota’s Triangle Petroleum Files for Bankruptcy
Becky Yerak, The Wall Street Journal
Triangle Petroleum Corp. , which has interests in North Dakota’s energy and commercial real-estate markets, filed for bankruptcy Wednesday with a reorganization plan under which bondholder J.P. Morgan Securities LLC will get all of the equity. Triangle’s debt consists mostly of a $2 million secured term loan from JPMorgan Chase Bank NA and $167 million under a secured bond J.P. Morgan Securities bought from another investor.
New Colorado environmental law stalls oil investment
Laila Kearney and David French, Reuters
New environmental regulations in Colorado have chilled investment in the state’s oil and gas fields as companies grapple with how local officials will respond to a law giving them more power to restrict energy production.
Utilities and Infrastructure
Insurance claims from deadly California wildfires top $12B
Kathleen Ronayne, The Associated Press
The figure released Wednesday by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara covers the fire that largely destroyed the town of Paradise and two Southern California blazes. It’s up about $600 million from data released in January.
GE Investors Approve Executive Pay, Reject Plan to Appoint Independent Chairman
Thomas Gryta, The Wall Street Journal
At its annual meeting, GE said about 30% of votes that were cast voted against GE’s executive-compensation plans and about 27% voted in favor of separating the roles of chairman and chief executive officer.
Republican Bruce Westerman proposes curbing western wildfires through forest management overhaul
Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner
The bill represents a continued push by Republicans backed by the Trump administration who argue poor forest management is contributing to the severity of wildfires in California and other parts of the western United States.
Power and utility bosses positive on M&A despite deal slump: survey
Nina Chestney, Reuters
Global power and utility executives are positive about the prospects for mergers and acquisitions in the year ahead, despite deals falling to their lowest level since 2012 in the first quarter, Ernst & Young (EY) said on Thursday.
Bird’s newest scooter is for sale — and it comes in rose gold
Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times
Bird Rides Inc. will release Wednesday a new electric scooter model in Los Angeles and Santa Monica that it hopes will outlive its predecessors — and find a market among scooter riders who want to purchase a Bird of their own.
AAA study finds Americans are warming to electric vehicles, but most aren’t ready to buy — at least not yet
Paul A. Eisenstein, CNBC
Americans aren’t ready to buy electric vehicles and don’t think their neighbors are either, according to a new study by AAA. That said, as many as 40 million Americans say they will at least consider a battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, for their next vehicle, the automotive group found.
Berkshire Takes Tax Hit as Victim of ‘Ponzi-Type’ Solar Scheme
Katherine Chiglinsky and Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg
The investments were tied to DC Solar, Debbie Bosanek, Buffett’s assistant, said Wednesday in response to Bloomberg’s questions about the expense. That’s the mobile solar generator company that federal authorities have alleged ran a fraudulent scheme involving tax benefits.
Orlando and Lakeland coal power plant set to retire
Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel
An aging coal plant owned by Lakeland and Orlando is slated to be shuttered within five years, furthering the demise of electricity produced from coal-powered generators and heightening attention toward a pair of power plants in Orange County.
Nevada senators, Rick Perry to tour site where plutonium stored
Gary Martin, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada senators and Energy Secretary Rick Perry will tour the Device Assembly Facility at the Nevada National Security Site this week as part of a deal reached to move weapons-grade plutonium out of the state.
Plant Vogtle’s Unit 3 hits key milestone
Dave Williams, Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Power Co. has permanently powered up the first of two additional nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle, the Atlanta-based utility announced.
Report: Air quality harmed as Texas oil production booms
David Warren, The Associated Press
The Environmental Integrity Project noted in a report released Thursday that the Permian Basin, which extends into New Mexico , is one of the most productive hydrocarbon regions in the world, thanks largely to the advent over the past decade of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
Exxon CEO Sees Laboratory Experiments Unlocking Key to Carbon
Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg
At a time when environmentalists want Exxon to leave more oil and gas in the ground, Woods is pressing an alternative strategy. He wants to explore the “fundamental science” behind climate change for a way to cut carbon emissions without forcing consumers “to give up the use of energy, and give up their standards of living.”
Exxon shareholders want action on climate change. The SEC calls it micromanagement.
Steven Mufson, The Washington Post
One of the highest-profile battles is being waged over a proposal that would have urged ExxonMobil to disclose short-, medium- and long-term greenhouse-gas targets “aligned with” reductions established by the Paris climate agreement in 2015 in an effort to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, if not 1.5 degrees.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Trump wants to negotiate nuclear deals. He should start with the one he already has.
The Editorial Board, The Washington Post
Before Mr. Trump reaches for the moon, he should tackle extension of the 2010 New START accord with Russia limiting strategic nuclear weapons, which expires in February 2021
Climate policy can recreate prosperity of the New Deal
Scott Wallace and Scott Fitzmorris, The Hill
Climate change presents an even more daunting challenge to our society — and time is running out. The last five years have been the hottest five years in recorded history.
A Clean Electricity Standard’s Weaknesses May Be Its Biggest Strengths
Noah Kaufman, Columbia University
Economists like clean electricity standards (CESs) because they are technology neutral and market-based policies. By encouraging all low-carbon electricity sources and enabling trading of “clean energy credits,” Senator Smith’s proposal encourages the cheapest clean sources of generation to satisfy future demands for electricity without anyone needing to know in advance what those technologies will be.
Comparing the Benefits and Costs of Notable Climate Policies
Philip Rossetti, American Action Forum
A common contention among advocates of the Green New Deal (GND) is that climate change represents an existential crisis, and the costs of inaction therefore justify extraordinary federal action regardless of the associated costs. This argument, however, is fundamentally flawed given that policymaking requires the strategic application of resources to maximize benefits despite limited resources.