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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

November 30, 2020

Top Story

E.P.A.’s Final Deregulatory Rush Runs Into Open Staff Resistance

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:14:52

The E.P.A. is expected to finalize in the coming weeks a rule on industrial soot pollution, which is linked to respiratory diseases, including those caused by the coronavirus. The rule is expected to leave in place a 2012 standard on fine soot from smokestacks and tailpipes, known as PM 2.5, ignoring the E.P.A.’s own scientists, who wrote last year that the existing rule contributes to about 45,000 deaths per year from respiratory diseases, and that tightening it could save about 10,000 of those lives. In April, a study published by researchers at Harvard linked long-term soot exposure and Covid-19 death rates. The study found that a person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter is 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than someone in a region with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

World’s Biggest Wind Park to Be Built Offshore U.K.

By Lars Paulsson, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:15:18

The world’s biggest offshore wind park is a step closer to construction. The British utility SSE Plc and Norwegian energy major Equinor ASA reached financial close on the project off the east coast of England. It will have skyscraper-sized turbines and produce enough electricity to supply 5% of the U.K.’s demand, or the equivalent of six million homes. The decision comes just days after the European Union announced a $940 billion push into wind at sea to meet stricter pollution targets as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s green plan to support renewable energy sources.
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The Transition

Renewable Energy Industry Readies Wish Lists for Joe Biden

By Gabriel T. Rubin, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:19:51

The renewable energy lobby gears up for a Joe Biden presidency much friendlier to their industry than the Trump administration. Within days of Biden’s victory, the associations representing the solar and wind industries pushed out their detailed agenda wish lists for the new administration to immediately act upon, many of which don’t require congressional action in what could be a divided government, depending on the outcome of the Georgia Senate runoffs.
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Climate Groups Prod Biden to Bolster Kerry by Declaring Crisis

By Ari Natter, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:16:51

Progressive environmentalists are mounting a long-shot bid to get President-elect Joe Biden to go beyond naming a climate czar and declare an environmental national emergency, borrowing a tactic employed by President Donald Trump to fund part of his border wall. Invoking a climate emergency could give Biden the authority to circumvent Congress and fund clean energy projects, shut down crude oil exports, suspend offshore drilling and curtail the movement of fossil fuels on pipelines, trains, and ships, according to a research note by consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners. “The president’s powers to address climate change through an emergency are very, very large,” said Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, which is lobbying Biden’s team to act. “This is No. 1 on the list of things the Biden administration should do.” [ read more … ]

Here are Biden’s next moves on climate

By Adam Aton and Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:17:15

Biden plans to name more Cabinet officials before Christmas — including the traditional climate power centers of EPA administrator and Interior secretary. He’ll also appoint a domestic climate czar, and tap leaders for the Treasury and Defense departments, once-distant corners of the climate portfolio where the Biden transition has already embedded climate experts. Biden campaigned on orienting the entire federal government toward climate action. Observers say his early picks have lived up to that, including former Secretary of State John Kerry as a global climate envoy. That is raising expectations that climate change will continue to shape his Cabinet. [ read more … ]

Yellen, top pick for Treasury, sees carbon tax as a solution

By Avery Ellfeldt, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:17:38

President-elect Joe Biden is set to tap Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary, a pick that could play a defining role in U.S. efforts to slash carbon emissions and prepare the economy for the realities of a warming world. Last week, Biden hinted that his imminent decision would “be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, progressive to the moderate coalitions.” His comment pointed to Yellen, and his choice — which was first reported Monday by The Wall Street Journal — has met with widespread support. [ read more … ]

Climate Litigation

Trump admin aligns with Big Oil in climate fight

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:19:29

The federal government this week threw its weight behind oil companies fighting to end a major legal battle over climate liability. Energy trade groups, legal organizations and the Trump administration filed a flurry of Supreme Court briefs in support of fossil fuel firms embroiled in a highly technical dispute that could pack a punch for a slew of climate damages cases across the country. Government attorneys asked the high court to rule in favor of BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. and other companies that say a climate lawsuit filed by Baltimore officials should be fully reexamined by a federal appeals court and moved to a federal venue, where it may face a greater chance of dismissal. [ read more … ]


Exxon Documents Reveal More Pessimistic Outlook for Oil Prices

By Christopher M. Matthews, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:14:35

Exxon Mobil Corp.  has lowered its outlook on oil prices for much of the next decade, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. As part of an internal financial-planning process conducted this fall, Exxon cut its expectations for future oil prices for each of the next seven years by 11% to 17%, according to the documents. The sizable reduction suggests the Texas oil giant expects the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic to linger for much of the next decade. The fossil-fuel industry is also contending with increased competition from renewable-energy sources and electric vehicles, as well as the prospect of increased climate-change regulation around the world.
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Joe Biden: Pro-oil president?

By Heather Richards and Mike Lee, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:18:30

Joe Biden was accused during the presidential campaign of planning for the end of oil, but some analysts say the president-elect won’t hurt — and may actually help — the industry. The pandemic has forced dozens of oil and gas producers out of business and sparked a wave of cost-cutting, debt reduction and consolidation among surviving companies. That has added to industry warnings that a crackdown by Biden as president could interrupt energy production and spark a deep economic decline.
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U.S. oil industry group pledges to fight possible Biden fracking limits

By Laura Sanicola, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:18:50

If U.S. President-elect Joe Biden tries to restrict development of oil and gas drilling on federal lands, the American Petroleum Institute (API) will use “every tool at its disposal” including legal action, chief executive Mike Sommers said in an interview with Reuters on Monday. Biden has said he supports a ban on new gas and oil permits — including fracking — on federal lands. [ read more … ]


President-elect Joe Biden posed in his vintage Corvette. But he promises a big push for electric vehicles.

By Ian Duncan, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:15:50

Electric vehicles make up less than 2 percent of the 17 million or so new cars and SUVs sold each year in the United States, but President-elect Joe Biden, the son of a car salesman and himself the owner of a vintage Corvette, also wants the country to be all-in on electric vehicles. He has pitched them as a way to fight climate change and reinvigorate American manufacturing. “I believe that we can own the 21st century market again by moving to electric vehicles,” Biden says while gripping the wheel of his 1967 Corvette Sting Ray. In a campaign video that used the rumble of the car’s engine as a soundtrack, Biden grins at the prospect of an electric version with a 200 mph top speed.
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Ex-CEO pleads guilty in nuclear fraud case

By Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-29 15:16:20

Former Scana Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh has agreed to plead guilty in federal court to fraud charges stemming from a failed nuclear project in South Carolina, according to court documents filed yesterday. Scana was building two nuclear reactors with the utility Santee Cooper, which is South Carolina’s state-owned power company. With rapidly escalating construction costs that had already hit $9 billion, the unfinished V.C. Summer project collapsed in 2017, months after contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. went bankrupt, citing rising costs in South Carolina and at a similar project in Georgia [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.