Morning Consult Energy: Rick Perry Said to Be Eyeing November Exit From DOE

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  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to step down by the end of November, three people familiar with his intentions said, while two of the sources noted that the intensifying investigation into the Ukraine controversy and Perry’s involvement are unrelated to his plans to leave the administration. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette is expected to take over for Perry, the three people said, with one source adding that Brouillette has been attending Cabinet meetings in Perry’s place for several months. (Politico)
  • BP PLC said that Chief Executive Bob Dudley will retire in February after almost 10 years at the oil giant, where he oversaw most of the cleanup from the company’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, steered BP through a wider oil price collapse and began a divestment effort expected to result in the sale of $75 billion in assets by 2020. He will be replaced Feb. 5 by BP’s Chief Executive of Upstream Operations Bernard Looney, who will join the company’s board on the same date. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Utility company PacifiCorp said it intends to shutter two thirds of its coal units by 2030 and most of its other coal plants by 2038, while adding 4,600 megawatts of wind energy and 6,300 MW of solar power by 2038. The changes “are simply more cost-effective to meet our customer needs,” said Rick Link, a vice president of the Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. (The Seattle Times)

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Climate language deleted from car rules document
Maxine Joselow, E&E News

An earlier draft of the proposal from EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contained the phrase “while global climate change is a serious challenge.”

EPA’s Wheeler Tweet Wasn’t ‘Purely Partisan,’ GAO Finds
Stephen Lee, Bloomberg

The EPA didn’t violate federal law about partisan communication when it sent a celebratory tweet in April 2018 about Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation to be the agency’s deputy administrator, the Government Accountability Office said.

A ‘Chilling Message’: Trump Critics See a Deeper Agenda in California Feud
Coral Davenport, The New York Times

When the administration last month revoked California’s authority to set state-level standards on climate-warming tailpipe emissions, it simultaneously stripped that power from 13 other states that follow California’s standards and ensured that no other state could set fuel-efficiency standards in the future.

Lawmaker, scientists challenge Trump officials’ push to disband two key advisory boards
Miranda Green, The Hill

In separate letters sent to the White House and Commerce Department on Thursday, Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) and a group of scientists and academics asked the Trump administration to reconsider eliminating the National Invasive Species Council and the Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee, respectively.

Republican Senators Tiptoe Around Being Green in 2020
Dean Scott, Bloomberg Environment

Of the three, only Collins has an above-average green voting record and has backed significant climate bills. The three are so far betting they either are green enough to withstand tough races or don’t see climate change and environmental issues as deciding factors in an election that’s increasingly becoming a referendum on Trump.

EPA’s impeachment mantra: ‘Business as usual’
Kevin Bogardus, E&E News

“It’s been spooky, the parallels that exist between Watergate and this current crisis,” Ruckelshaus told E&E News. “Here I am again, listening to some of the same stories virtually that I experienced personally 40 years before.”

The Plastics Industry’s Long Fight to Blame Pollution on You
Sharon Lerner, The Intercept

Through advertising, public outreach campaigns, lobbying, and partnerships with nonprofits designed to seem “green,” plastics industry organizations have been blaming “litterbugs” for the growing menace and promoting the idea of recycling as the solution, while at the same time fighting every serious attempt to limit plastic production.

Oil edges up but still set for big weekly loss on demand worries
Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Reuters

Oil prices rose on Friday but were still on track for a second consecutive weekly loss after sliding on fears that slower global economic growth would hurt energy demand.

Oil and Natural Gas

An Irish Farmer’s Son Set to Steer BP Through World Wary of Oil
Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg

Bernard Looney, who grew up on an Irish dairy farm and has been called the man that can win over millennials, will take the top job at BP Plc in February and face the challenge of running one of the world’s largest oil companies at a time when society is turning against them.

In a Sated Oil Market, Saudi Arabia Attack Sinks Without Trace
Grant Smith et al., Bloomberg

With a faltering global economy and fears of recession eroding oil demand, combined with a relentless tide of American shale-oil offering alternative supply, the kind of shock that would once have sent prices rocketing has barely left a ripple.

OPEC and GECF eye increased cooperation, sharing of market data, expertise
Stuart Elliott, S&P Global Platts

OPEC and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) on Thursday agreed to enhance cooperation between the two bodies, mainly in the area of sharing market data and knowledge.

Shale Jobs Are Drying Up in the Permian Basin
David Wethe and Catarina Saraiva, Bloomberg

Signs of a slowdown permeate the Permian Basin, the 55 million acres (22.3 million hectares) in West Texas and New Mexico whose abundant oil and widespread fracking fueled America’s quest for energy independence. 

Utilities and Infrastructure

ERCOT weathers steamy August, but could Texas become a winter-peaking system?
Robert Walton, Utility Dive

The Texas electric grid faced tight reserve margins heading into this summer, but new data shows it weathered the season with no blackouts or brownouts, and only two calls for conservation. 


Consumers Got Millions in Questionable Electric-Car Tax Credits
Ryan Beene, Bloomberg

Thousands of auto buyers may have improperly claimed more than $70 million in tax credits for purchases of new plug-in electric vehicles using ineligible cars and trucks, a U.S. Treasury Department watchdog said Thursday.

Scooter startup Bird raises $275 million in latest funding round
Jane Lanhee Lee and Neha Malar, Reuters

Scooter company Bird has raised $275 million in a funding round led by CDPQ and Sequoia Capital, it said on Thursday, in a deal valuing the firm at $2.5 billion before the investment.

VW in Talks With Peers to Share Its Electric Know-How
Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg

Volkswagen AG is in talks with other manufacturers on sharing the key technology underpinning its future Porsche and Audi electric car models, part of an effort to build scale and spread development costs.

Meet the ‘NIMBY people’ trying to kill solar
Kelsey Brugger, E&E News

Ralston’s group is one of many anti-solar organizations emerging to oppose what they say are mammoth projects that do not fit the character of their communities. They claim not to oppose solar energy but argue that large-scale projects should be confined to industrial zoned land, not land for agriculture.


Navajo company keeps 1,200 workers after buying 3 coal mines
The Associated Press

The announcement Thursday came a day after a federal judge gave final approval for the transfer of the mines from bankrupt Cloud Peak Energy to the Navajo Transitional Energy Co.


Ohio AFL-CIO enters fight against House Bill 6 referendum
Jeremy Pelzer,

The Ohio AFL-CIO is entering the fight against a potential referendum on House Bill 6, launching ads on TV and online urging voters not to sign petitions to overturn the state’s nuclear bailout law.

Panel to oversee New Jersey nuclear plant decommissioning
The Associated Press

Oyster Creek is being decommissioned after it was permanently shuttered in September 2018. Its spent fuel is also being put into safe storage.


Gov. Wolf plans to have Pennsylvania join a regional effort to cut carbon emissions
Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania

Wolf is bypassing the Republican-controlled legislature by signing an executive order. He said he has the authority through the Clean Air Act.

Unhealthy air quality days in New England decline in 2019
The Associated Press

Based on preliminary data collected from March to September, there were 24 days when ozone monitors in New England recorded ozone concentrations above levels considered healthy. There were 28 such days in 2018.

Mining the Future: Climate Change, Migration, and Militarization in Arizona’s Borderlands
Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

Organ Pipe sits directly south of Ajo, an unincorporated community surrounded by a vast expanse of federally administered borderlands sometimes referred to as Arizona’s west desert. 

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Pushing for a tax change to keep rural communities thriving
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Austin Daily Herald

Earlier this year, when I met with leaders from several southern Minnesota rural electric cooperatives, their communities were still reeling from the devastating blizzards and high winds that knocked out hundreds of power lines across the region and left thousands of families and businesses without electricity.

We are facing a conservation crisis – it’s time to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Gene Karpinski, The Hill

To confront this conservation crisis, policymakers must do far more to preserve nature and share its benefits equitably with all communities in this country. 

Attaining Carbon-Neutral Shipping Is a Herculean Task
Costas Paris, The Wall Street Journal

The international shipping industry has committed to lower greenhouse-gas emissions by half come 2050, but there is a big catch. Neither the engines nor the fuels are there to back the ambitious target, and tens of billions of dollars must be invested as stricter emissions rules kick in.

Research Reports

Echo chambers in climate science
Lorien Jasny et al., Environmental Research Communications

In this paper, we explore how echo chambers change over time, integrating data collected on the federal climate policy network after the first 100 days of the Trump Administration had passed with data collected during two periods during the Obama Administration.

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