A developer’s plan to build a wind energy line through the Midwest hit another snag this week, when Arkansas’ senators vowed to block a Department of Energy nominee until the agency answers their questions about the proposal. Republican Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton said they are placing a hold on the nomination of Victoria Wassmer, a longtime Obama administration official whom the president in July tapped for undersecretary for management and performance, a newly created post at DOE
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday started the process of making the state’s clean energy plan legally binding. Cuomo (D) sent a letter to Audrey Zibelman, chairwoman of the state’s Public Service Commission, directing her and the department to start drafting a clean energy standard. It is to include provisions that the state produce at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, called the “50 by 30” goal, according to the letter.
As nations wrangle in Paris this week over reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, companies have been eager to show that they, too, are getting with the program. Now, from Google, long a leader among corporations in green energy investing, comes new agreements to buy renewable energy to power its operations that, taken together, nearly double what it had already promised. “We’re really trying to lead this transition to a cleaner energy economy,” said Michael Terrell, principal for energy and infrastructure at Google, whose aim is to use 100 percent renewable energy. “It’s transforming anyone who touches the energy space. It’s not just about data centers or tech companies.”
The House passed the Energy and Commerce Committee’s broad energy legislation yesterday, sending the Senate a bill aimed at modernizing the electric grid and speeding natural gas exports. Lawmakers voted 249-174 to approve H.R. 8, the “North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015,” with the support of nine Democrats. Republican Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Thomas Massie of Kentucky voted against the bill.
The latest news from the U.N. climate conference in Paris, which runs through Dec. 11.
“Our results indicate that, pound for pound, coal-burning particles contribute roughly five times as much to heart disease mortality risk as the average air pollution particle in the United States,” said George D. Thurston, a professor of population health and environmental medicine at New York University and lead author of the study. Thurston and the study’s 10 other authors said that their findings should end assumptions in previous studies that carbon “particles have the same toxicity, irrespective of their source.”
The Kemper County power plant was supposed to be up and running by now, showing the world how to burn coal without spewing climate-warming carbon pollution into the air. Instead, the coal plant towering over pine trees and pastures in rural Mississippi is looking like another monument to the unfulfilled promise of carbon capture technology.
Arkansas’ two Republican senators say they will place a hold on a confirmation vote for a U.S. Department of Energy nominee because of their concerns over a proposed wind-energy transmission line that would cross the state. U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton said Wednesday they will place a hold on the confirmation vote for Victoria Wassmer, who is President Barack Obama’s nominee for the department’s undersecretary for management and performance. A Senate committee advanced Wassmer’s nomination last month.
Another 73 companies joined a White House pledge to reduce emissions and water usage, buy renewable energy or take other climate-friendly steps as part of President Barack Obama’s effort to enlist corporate backing for his efforts to combat climate change.
The companies, which include retail giant Amazon.com Inc., chemical conglomerate DuPont Co., and JetBlue Airways Corp., bring the total that have joined the administration’s initiative to 154 companies. The pledge, launched in July, asks companies to cut waste and reduce their carbon footprints. Participants employ 11 million people and account for some $4.2 trillion in annual revenue.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius dismissed a U.S. House vote to gut the cornerstone of President Obama’s international climate change promises, saying opposition in Congress won’t derail talks here toward a new agreement. “My sense was that wasn’t a great surprise, what happened. We know the position that the Congress has, at least the position of many Republicans in Congress,” Fabius said. “In fact, we discussed this the other day with President Obama when we were having dinner. For him, it wasn’t a surprise.”