Bipartisan House group urges Interior to finish leasing rule

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

A bipartisan House coalition urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today to finalize a proposed rule that would establish competitive leasing for renewable energy projects on federal lands across the West. Fourteen House members led by California Reps. Paul Cook (R) and Alan Lowenthal (D) wrote in a three-page letter to Jewell that completion of the rule unveiled in 2014 is critical to continue the unprecedented effort by the Obama administration to develop commercial-scale solar, wind and geothermal projects on federal lands.

Elon Musk Aims to Shore Up SolarCity by Having Tesla Buy It

Source: By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED and PETER EAVIS, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Elon Musk has built an ambitious business empire on three pillars: electric cars, solar energy and space travel. Now, the billionaire entrepreneur is trying to shore up his embattled solar panel provider by merging it with the electric carmaker. His Tesla Motors said on Tuesday that it had offered to buy SolarCity in an all-stock deal, one that could value the latter at as much as $2.8 billion. The aim, Mr. Musk argues, is to create a renewable-energy giant, collecting clean electricity and putting it to work propelling cars.

California’s Last Nuclear Power Plant Could Close

Source: By DIANE CALDWELL, NEW YORK TIMES • Posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

California, among the first states to embrace nuclear energy in the 1950s, may be breaking things off for good. Under a proposal announced on Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric would shutter the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, the state’s last operating nuclear facility, and would compensate for the lost output with technologies that do not emit greenhouse gases, including renewable energy.

Enviros urge Senate Dems to sink conference

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The pressure from environmentalists raises new questions about whether there will be 60 votes in the Senate to go to conference, a vote that Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday could happen as soon as tomorrow. Murkowski noted that she and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) would meet with House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and their respective ranking members, Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona.

Zika aid seen as only spending deal likely to emerge soon

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Congress seems unlikely to wrap up its annual appropriations work until later this year, but lawmakers from both parties are eager to strike a quick deal on a Zika funding package. House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer raised fresh doubts yesterday over whether Congress will complete its fiscal 2017 work before December, leaving federal agencies to operate under current funding for at least the first three months of the new fiscal year.

Senate: Conference vote possible this week — Murkowski

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

The Senate this week could vote to go to conference with the House on energy legislation, Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said yesterday. “I’m really hopeful that we’re going to be able to have a vote on it this week,” Murkowski told E&E Daily last night, saying she was encouraged by the meeting of the six House and Senate lawmakers who will play a key role in reconciling the chambers’ competing bills.

Dems seek to tie fossil fuel companies to Big Tobacco

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

House progressives are planning to hold a forum this week to argue that the oil and gas industry is taking its cue from Big Tobacco in its attempts to thwart investigations on climate change. The planned gathering Wednesday afternoon, called “Oil Is the New Tobacco,” will bring together members of Congress, climate researchers and environmental activists.

House: Upton, Bishop offer conference committee assurances

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Two top House chairmen yesterday pledged to work with wary Democrats in conference committee talks to produce a final energy bill that President Obama would sign. In a joint statement, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said they were committed to working with members from both parties on both sides of the Capitol to sort out the thorny differences between the chambers’ competing energy bills. While brief, the joint statement released yesterday afternoon addresses a key concern by Democrats, which has stalled the launch of formal negotiations. Members of the minority worry about Republicans pushing poison pill provisions

Harvard study finds $38 billion of public health benefits from carbon reduction rule

Source: By Greg Alvarez, AWEA • Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

A new report finds carbon reduction rules create billions in public health benefits. While the Clean Power Plan (CPP) works its way through the court system, researchers continue to look into what it could mean for consumers. The results of a new Harvard study show there’s nothing to fear: using a model that resembles the CPP, researchers found net benefits of $38 billion a year. Because wind power’s costs have fallen 66 percent in the last six years, it’s the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut carbon pollution, making it responsible for a big portion of these benefits.

Critics look to tamp down green push in FAA extension

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Americans for Prosperity is once again urging lawmakers not to extend a key renewable tax break in upcoming legislation that would extend the authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration beyond next month’s July 15 expiration. In a statement issued Friday, the group reiterated its opposition to extending the investment tax credit for wind, geothermal, fuel cells, and combined heat and power facilities for five years in the FAA extension, expected before the summer recess.