Democratic state senators in California on Thursday unveiled a series of bills designed to freeze in place Obama administration-era environmental regulations in the event the Trump administration moves to weaken them. The bills, collectively known as the “Preserve California” package, aim to make existing federal clean air, water, and endangered species laws enforceable under state law and protect federal lands in the state from being sold to oil companies.
In his first blog post since succeeding Rex Tillerson, the new head of Exxon Mobil Corp. focused on climate change, calling for a carbon tax to discourage use of polluting fuels. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said a revenue-neutral carbon tax “would promote greater energy efficiency and the use of today’s lower-carbon options, avoid further burdening the economy, and also provide incentives for markets to develop additional low-carbon energy solutions for the future.”
Both Berkshire Hathaway Energy and BNSF Railway have been leaders in pursuing planet-friendly technology. In wind generation, no state comes close to rivaling Iowa, where last year the megawatt-hours we generated from wind equaled 55 percent of all megawatt-hours sold to our Iowa retail customers. New wind projects that are underway will take that figure to 89 percent by 2020.
Seeking to shore up their struggling industry, the coal producers are voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to frame a new image for coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda. Executives of the three companies — Cloud Peak Energy, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — are going so far as to make common cause with some of their harshest critics, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force. Together, they are lobbying for a tax bill to expand government subsidies to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc may contract to build offshore wind farms in the U.K. and across Europe, after winning a bid to build one of the cheapest projects on record last year, Shell U.K. chair Sinead Lynch, said in an interview. Europe’s biggest oil supplier is exploring opportunities across Europe for offshore wind, Lynch said at a press event on Wednesday at a Shell service station outside London, where she was opening the company’s first U.K. hydrogen refueling station.
The White House on Friday will move its Council on Environmental Quality out of its main headquarters at 722 Jackson Place, a red brick townhouse it has occupied since it was established more than four decades ago. Although some White House CEQ staffers will remain in adjoining townhouses, the shift means the council will lose its main conference room. While the influence of CEQ waxes and wanes depending on which president is in office, it traditionally plays a key role in executing the White House’s overall environmental agenda and coordinating key decisions among different agencies.
According to recent surveys commissioned by American Wind Action (AWA), four in five “engaged citizens” in Oklahoma (those who voted in at least three of the last four general elections) have a “favorable” impression of wind, and more than half have a “very favorable” impression of wind – regardless of party affiliations or political ideologies.
A proposal that would have created a two-year moratorium on new wind energy development in North Dakota was stripped from legislation that ultimately passed the Senate as a study of the state’s energy plan Wednesday. Senate Bill 2314, as passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, would have prevented the Public Service Commission from approving a wind farm application submitted in the two years starting Aug. 1 unless the commission determined that added generation was needed for the state’s consumers.
The push to win over the Trump administration comes as offshore wind is on the brink of success in North America after a decade of false starts. Costs are falling dramatically. Deepwater Wind LLC completed the first project in U.S. waters in August. And in September, the Obama administration outlined plans to ease regulatory constraints and take other steps to encourage private development of enough turbines to crank out 86,000 megawatts by 2050. That’s about the equivalent of 86 nuclear reactors. “We are an industry on the rise,” Thomas Brostrom, Dong’s general manager of North America, said in an interview. “We want very much to come in and explain to the new administration what we can do for job creation and energy independence.”
The White House spokesman, in speaking about a House resolution signed by President Trump to roll back regulations enacted in the closing months of the Obama administration, cited an interesting statistic — that “Obama-era regulations … have cost the American business consumers a staggering $890 billion.” That seemed like a rather specific number, so we wanted to explore how valid it might be.