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Morning Consult Energy: FERC Approves Expansion at Freeport LNG Terminal


Top Stories

  • In a 3-1 vote, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an expansion project at the Freeport LNG export terminal in Texas which, if completed, would increase the terminal’s liquefaction capacity by up to 5.1 million metric tons per year. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur (D) voted to approve the project but said FERC’s decision to prepare only an environmental assessment of the project increases the legal risk. (S&P Global Platts)
  • Interior Secretary David Bernhardt placed Casey Hammond, principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, in charge of the Bureau of Land Management through at least July 31. Bernhardt also lengthened the temporary appointments of eight other officials through that date. (E&E News)
  • Texas-based drilling company Hilltop Energy LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Del., putting forward a “prepackaged” plan that would give ownership of the company to Dallas-based Rivershore Operating LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC. The company has no employees, and Rivershore manages its oil and gas assets. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

05/17/2019
7th Annual Infrastructure Week
05/18/2019
7th Annual Infrastructure Week
05/20/2019
7th Annual Infrastructure Week
Recharge Thought Leadership Forum 10:30 am
05/21/2019
American Wind Energy Association WINDPOWER Conference
DLA Energy Worldwide Energy Conference
LIGHTFAIR International Conference
House Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee hearing on U.S. transportation infrastructure and climate change 10:00 am
Atlantic Council Event on US Nuclear Energy Leadership: Innovation and the Strategic Global Challenge 2:00 pm
05/22/2019
American Wind Energy Association WINDPOWER Conference
DLA Energy Worldwide Energy Conference
LIGHTFAIR International Conference
CO2NNECT Conference
House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Hearing on Policies, Recommendations, and Impacts of the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request 10:00 am
Energy Secretary Rick Perry scheduled to testify at House Science, Space and Technology hearing on the FY2020 Budget Request 10:00 am
05/23/2019
American Wind Energy Association WINDPOWER Conference
LIGHTFAIR International Conference
U.S. Energy Association Membership Meeting and Public Policy Forum 11:00 am
View full calendar

Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings

The definitive ranking of every governor’s approval in America, based on over 470,000 survey interviews.

Morning Consult is also tracking every senator’s approval, as well as the 2020 Democratic primary and Donald Trump’s approval. See more.

General

Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss
Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill

Three Senate Democrats are requesting an investigation into a former lobbyist, now an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee, who met with her former boss as well as members of the trade group she once worked for.

Trump administration pulls $929 million in funding for California high-speed rail
Jeff Daniels, CNBC

In a release, the FRA said the California agency “repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of the FY10 agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the project.”

EPA chief Andrew Wheeler takes self-described ‘potshot’ at Green New Deal
Gregory Wallace, CNN

“If the grid isn’t back up and running, if we don’t have the electricity, we can’t run the drinking water system in the community and we’re providing bottled water for a long time,” he continued.

5 state battles to watch
Staff, E&E News

Lawmakers across the country are moving to assert more control over their states’ energy mixes as the Trump administration rolls back regulations and concerns around climate change continue to take center stage.

Oil lifted toward $73 by real and threatened supply cuts
Alex Lawler, Reuters

Oil edged higher toward $73 a barrel on Friday, supported by real and threatened supply disruptions in the Middle East and heading for a weekly gain.

Oil and Natural Gas

A massive Gulf oil spill is finally being contained after more than 14 years
Darryl Fears, The Washington Post

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday that it is finally containing and collecting oil from a massive 14-year spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the longest offshore disaster in U.S. history.

U.S. Gasoline Traders Would Rather Export Than Ship to New York
Jeffrey Bair, Bloomberg

The busiest U.S. fuel pipeline is running below capacity, as Gulf Coast refiners get fatter margins exporting to Latin America than shipping to New York.

ConocoPhillips is the anti-Oxy
Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle

While Occidental Petroleum and its CEO Vicki Hollub rolled the dice with a risky $38 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petrolem, Oxy’s Houston neighbor ConocoPhillips and its CEO, Ryan Lance are content to stand pat with rising profits and stable growth.

Inside the Long War to Protect Plastic
Tik Root, The Center for Public Integrity

New York’s Suffolk County had a trash problem. Facing brimming landfills and public pressure, legislators took a first-in-the-nation step: They banned plastic bags.

Utilities and Infrastructure

FERC summer outlook flags California, Texas as posing potential reliability problems
Jasmin Melvin, S&P Global Platts

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will maintain its watchful eye on the West this summer as the risk for wildfires adds to stresses on that system. It also intends to monitor the Texas grid for reliability challenges stemming from that region’s tight power supplies, staff said in their summer outlook Thursday.

PJM CEO sees FERC storage order as threat to demand resource penetration in markets
Iulia Gheorghiu, Utility Dive

PJM will not be lowering its 10-hour discharge requirement for storage resources to participate within its capacity market, CEO Andy Ott said at a Politico event on Wednesday.

FERC Upholds Electric Storage Order
Rich Heidorn Jr., RTO Insider

FERC on Thursday rejected multiple requests to reconsider its landmark electric storage order, prompting a partial dissent from Commissioner Bernard McNamee over requests to allow states to opt out.

US transmission buildout faces challenges, could impede clean energy future: panelists
Jasmin Melvin, S&P Global Platts

Industry executives and a Senate Democrat at a forum Wednesday eyed easing transmission permitting obstacles and increasing federal research and development dollars for electric storage technology among top priorities for modernizing the grid to achieve a clean energy future.

Charge stations are pain point as Pepco asks DC to reconsider transportation electrification plan
Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Pepco has asked the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) to reconsider its transportation electrification plan, including ownership of electrification assets, following an April order that rejected the utility’s proposal and called for modifications.

Renewables

One Man’s Unlikely Quest to Power the World With Magnets
Dan Neil, The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Danzik, the science and technology officer for Wyoming-based Inductance Energy Corp., says he has invented a magnetic generator, a flywheel system that extracts usable energy from the interplay of exotic magnets—also known as a free-energy device, a cousin to the fabled perpetual-motion machine.

Coal

DOE looking to save ailing Colstrip plant, fossil fuel chief tells Senate
Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

The Department of Energy is actively working with the ailing Colstrip power plant in Montana to save it from shutdown, DOE Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy Steven Winberg told Senators Thursday during a hearing on carbon capture technology.

A Major Coal Company Went Bust. Its Bankruptcy Filing Shows That it Was Funding Climate Change Denialism.
Lee Fang, The Intercept

The disclosures are from Cloud Peak Energy, a Wyoming-based coal mining corporation that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10. The company had been battered by low coal prices, including in international markets cultivated by the firm.

Nuclear

Most Profitable Job in Nuclear Today Is Tearing Down Reactors
Will Wade, Bloomberg

The only part of the nuclear industry still growing in the U.S. is a small but expanding group of companies that specialize in tearing reactors down faster and cheaper than ever before.

New Jersey’s $300 Million Nuclear Power Bailout Is Facing a Court Challenge. Does It Have a Chance?
Talia Buford, ProPublica

When the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved $300 million in subsidies last month for nuclear plants operated by the energy company PSEG, it wasn’t a surprise. The company had pumped millions into lobbying, and it threatened to close the facilities, which are seen as a vital  piece of the state’s clean energy agenda.

Climate

California Regulator Threatens Trump With `Extreme’ Auto Rules
Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg

A top California environmental regulator is threatening to enact tough, new pollution rules — including an unprecedented ban on cars burning petroleum-based fuels — in response to a Trump administration plan to relax vehicle emission standards.

Climate change climbs up U.S. voters’ list of concerns
Kate Ryan, Reuters

Climate change is rising up the list of voter concerns in the United States with nearly 40% saying the issue will be crucial in how they cast their ballots in the 2020 presidential election, according to a poll released on Thursday.

Revealed: air pollution may be damaging ‘every organ in the body’
Damian Carrington, The Guardian

The research shows head-to-toe harm, from heart and lung disease to diabetes and dementia, and from liver problems and bladder cancer to brittle bones and damaged skin. Fertility, foetuses and children are also affected by toxic air, the review found.

BP faces investor push to beef up fight against climate change
Ron Bousso and Simon Jessop, Reuters

BP will face pressure at a meeting next week to set tougher targets to combat climate change, the latest signal from investors that they want the oil and gas industry to do more to clean up its act.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

U.S. Can Lead the World on Energy – With Better Infrastructure
James “Spider” Marks, Morning Consult

The Trump administration’s recent decision to sanction any country that continues to buy Iranian oil represents a bold diplomatic step – one that has the potential to change the geopolitical calculus in the Middle East.

Poor, minority communities bear the brunt of pollution. That has to stop.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del). et al., Delaware Online

As a series of trucks headed toward Warren County, North Carolina, a crowd of residents gathered together to lay down in the middle of the road. It was September 1982, and as they got down onto the ground, a movement rose up.

First step toward fighting climate change is a simple one
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), The Hill

The “Green New Deal’s” massive expansion of federal bureaucracy, technologically implausible guideposts and a tax to kill the American dream is not the answer to the undeniable threats our world is facing from climate change.

I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned.
Gregory Jaczko, The Washington Post

Nuclear power was supposed to save the planet. The plants that used this technology could produce enormous amounts of electricity without the pollution caused by burning coal, oil or natural gas, which would help slow the catastrophic changes humans have forced on the Earth’s climate.

Research Reports

Grid Vision: The Electric Highway to a 21st Century Economy
American Wind Energy Association

Electricity is the lifeblood of the modern U.S. economy, yet much of America’s electric grid is outdated and in dire need of investment and expansion to bring it into the 21st Century. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave America’s electricity infrastructure a mark of “D+,” and grid congestion and power outages cost American businesses billions of dollars each year.