By Davis Burroughs (@DAVISBURROUGHS)
Today’s Washington Brief:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who is locked in a tight Dec. 6 runoff election, failed to secure the 60 votes needed to move forward on final consideration of a Keystone-approval bill. And while Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said approving the pipeline will be among next year’s top priorities for the GOP-led Congress, the White House has hardened its stance against the project, Politico reports.
Barack Obama didn’t start out as an environmental president, but he is one now, Darren Samuelsohn writes for Politico. That’s due in part to his realization that power over environmental policies has fundamentally shifted toward the executive branch.
The U.S. leads all developed countries in terms of dollars pledged to the United Nations climate fund, but its contribution, which Congress still needs to authorize, might be matched by Canada, the Globe and Mail reports.
Today’s Business Brief:
The CEO of Halliburton is trying to rally shareholder support for the company's acquisition of Baker Hughes. Fuel Fix reports that interest is strong, but that there are legitimate concerns over the $35 billion deal’s antitrust risks.
To avoid another Keystone-like showdown over TransCanada’s other major pipeline project, Energy East, PR firm Edelman has advised its client to investigate and attack the opposition. Read the story from the New York Times by Ian Austen.
An analysis by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas regarding the Clean Power Plan finds that the timing and scale of the proposed rule would have a harmful impact on electric grid reliability.
Today's Chart Review:
The US hasn't produced this much oil since 1986
from Vox by Brad Plumer
Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern):
Wednesday: Earnings Reports: SandRidge Energy
Wednesday: NBR event on American coal exports to Asia @ 9 am
Thursday: Cookstoves Future Summit – All Day
Thursday: PCT policy briefing on clean energy tax incentives – All Day
Friday: Cookstoves Future Summit – All Day
16: Utilities and Infrastructure
OPINIONS, EDITORIALS, PERSPECTIVES
20: Morning Consult
21: The New York TImes
RESEARCH REPORTS, ISSUE BRIEFS, CASE STUDIES
22: Electric Reliability Council of Texas
1) Beyond Senate defeat, ill omens for Keystone
from Politico by Andrew Restuccia
Never mind the cliffhanger defeat for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Even if the Senate had passed the bill Tuesday, hints are mounting that President Barack Obama has hardened his stance against the $8 billion project and would veto any legislation green-lighting it, whether it comes from the current Democratic Senate or next year’s Republican Senate.
2) The greening of Barack Obama
from Politico by Darren Samuelsohn
For Barack Obama, it wasn’t easy being green — until, suddenly, it was. During his earlier years in office, Obama never pushed the environment to the forefront of the national agenda. The economy took precedence. Then health care. At one point, toward the end of Obama’s first term, environmentalists counted the months between presidential uses of the term “climate change.”
3) P.R. Firm Urges TransCanada to Target Opponents of Its Energy East Pipeline
from the New York Times by Ian Austen
The advice from a top American public relations firm was simple: A Canadian pipeline company should take aim at its opposition. In detailed proposals submitted in May and August, the public relations firm Edelman outlined a plan to investigate groups that had opposed Energy East, a pipeline in development by TransCanada. Edelman urged TransCanada to develop its own sympathetic supporters and spread any unflattering findings about the opposition.
4) Halliburton’s Lesar on the trail to sell $35B megadeal to investors
from Fuel Fix by Collin Eaton
Shortly after Halliburton announced its $35 billion deal to buy Baker Hughes on Monday, Dave Lesar’s email stopped working. It was flooded, the oil-field giant’s CEO says, with messages from private equity shops, public companies, private companies and others who want to fork over big cash for whatever prized assets federal trust-busters will require the company to sell off. Halliburton estimates there may be $7.5 billion in revenue from businesses it may have to hawk to appease antitrust authorities.
5) Youngest Oil Tycoon Finds Fortune After Washout as Trader
from Bloomberg News by Brendan Coffey
When he left Midland, Texas, in 1997, Bryan Sheffield didn’t plan on returning. His father and grandfather both had earned their fortunes drilling wells in this flat, dusty landscape, living through oil industry booms and busts. Sheffield aimed for a career in finance.
6) Harper says Canada will contribute to poor countries’ climate change fund
from the Globe and Mail by Steven Chase
Stephen Harper said Sunday that Canada is preparing to make a contribution to a UN fund that helps poor countries cope with the impact of climate change, a move that follows a $3-billion donation from the United States. He did not specify an amount.
7) How to Make the Clean Power Plan Affordable
from Scientific American by Nathanael Massey and ClimateWire
Under the Obama administration's proposed rule for power-sector carbon emissions, states are given wide latitude in charting their paths to compliance. The plan's flexibility is one of its cardinal selling points— although U.S. EPA may set state-specific targets, it's up to the states themselves to decide how to get there.
8) Bernie Sanders: Keystone XL 'makes no sense to me'
from the Washington Examiner by Kelly Cohen
Bernie Sanders is not a fan of the Keystone XL pipeline. As the Senate prepares to vote on the project bringing tar sands oil from Alberta to the United States, the independent Vermont senator once again spoke out against its passage.
9) Agency backtracks on frack ban in Va. forest, is roundly praised
from E&E by Phil Taylor
After years of controversy over whether the George Washington National Forest would become the nation's first to ban hydraulic fracturing, the Obama administration appears to have found a politically safe middle ground.
10) History Suggests Vetoes Will Skyrocket Next Year
from Morning Consult by Andrew Hazzard
When the 114th Congress is sworn in, President Barack Obama will face a Republican majority in both chambers for the first time since taking office in 2009. If history is any guide, that will likely lead to a dusting off of the veto pen.
11) U.S. Index Futures Little Changed as Investors Await Fed
from Bloomberg News by Inyoung Hwang
U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, after benchmark gauges extended records yesterday, before the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its policy meeting and a report on housing starts.
12) Water outreach should be a priority for drillers, report says
from Fuel Fix by Robert Grattan
Oil companies don’t have the best reputations in the communities where they drill, and can be seen as threats to local water supplies.
13) Oil and Stocks: The Great Debate
from the Wall Street Journal by Liam Denning
A big question for investors today is whether the oil market or the stock market makes the better prophet. Even as the S&P 500 is around record highs, suggesting boundless optimism, oil prices keep falling, stoking fears about slowing global economic growth.
14) Harold Hamm Q&A: Oil prices, exports, 2016 and more
from Politico Pro by Darren Goode
On the heels of a widely publicized divorce judgment that could cost him in excess of $1 billion, oil titan Harold Hamm is ready to converse on just about anything else. But the man at the center of the North Dakota energy boom has a lot to say — about the Keystone XL pipeline, oil exports, falling crude prices and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s prospects as a presidential contender in 2016.
15) The US hasn't produced this much oil since 1986
from Vox by Brad Plumer
The US is now producing more crude oil than at any point since 1986, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration. That amount stood at 8.6 million barrels per day in August 2014.
Utilities and Infrastructure
16) Proposed US EPA rule to have significant impact on power grid: ERCOT analysis
from Platts by Kassia Micek
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas anticipates that implementation of the US Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will result in the retirement of up half of ERCOT's coal generation capacity, raise retail energy bills up to 20% and lead to a greater likelihood of rotating outages.
17) Security Experts Express Concern over Nuclear Cybersecurity Proposal
from the Wall Street Journal by Rachael King
Cybersecurity experts say that a regulatory request by the nuclear industry’s main trade group to revise cybersecurity requirements will leave systems in nuclear power plants more vulnerable.
18) A Carbon Tax Could Bolster Green Energy
from the New York Times by Eduardo Porter
A couple of years ago, the smart money was on wind. In 2012, 13 gigawatts worth of wind-powered electricity generation capacity was installed in the United States, enough to meet the needs of roughly three million homes. That was some 40 percent of all the capacity added to the nation’s power grid that year, up from seven gigawatts added in 2011 and just over five in 2010.
19) Developers to Expand in Peru After 2015 Renewable Power Auction
from Bloomberg News by Vanessa Dezem
ContourGlobal LLC, the biggest operator of wind power in Peru, is planning to double its investment in the country, expanding the list of developers seeking to expand in one of Latin America’s fastest-growing markets for renewable energy.
OPINIONS, EDITORIALS, PERSPECTIVES
20) The New Agenda for a New Congress
from Morning Consult by Frank Maisano
The midterm elections are now behind us (minus the yet-to-be-decided Senate races in Louisiana, as well as, several House races in Arizona, Louisiana, California and New York) and it is clear that Republicans won big victories in what many are viewing as a “wave election.”… So what does the change mean for Congress? With both chambers in Republican control, expect far more oversight of key Administration initiatives than we have seen in the past. Most notably, we expect much of that oversight to occur in the energy, the environment and immigration policy arenas.
21) Peru Prepares to Host Climate Talks as its Indigenous Forest Defenders Die
from the New York Times by Andrew Revkin
The nonprofit group Global Witness makes some valuable points in a new report offering Peru a path to cut the violence on its poorly governed resource frontier in the Amazon. The report, “Peru’s Deadly Environment,” is being released today at a Manhattan event organized with the Alexander Soros Foundation.
RESEARCH REPORTS, ISSUE BRIEFS, CASE STUDIES
22) ERCOT Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan
from The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan, which calls for reductions in the carbon intensity of the electric sector. The Clean Power Plan would set limits on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, calculated as state emissions rate goals. For Texas, EPA has proposed an interim goal of 853 lb CO2/MWh to be met on average during 2020-2029, and a final goal of 791 lb CO2/MWh to be met from 2030 onward. EPA calculated the state-specific goals using a set of assumptions about coal plant efficiency improvements, increased production from natural gas combined cycle units, growth in renewables generation, preservation of existing nuclear generation, and growth in energy efficiency.