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Energy Edge

For Greens, a Split Decision in Pivotal Senate Race - Energy Edge Brought to You by Chevron

May 22, 2014


By Jason Plautz (@jason_plautz), Ben Geman (@ben_geman), and Clare Foran (@ckmarie)

For Greens, a Split Decision on Pivotal Senate Contest

The League of Conservation Voters has decided imperiled Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat, is worth trying to save. The group announced Thursday that it's endorsing Hagan, and LCV is also raising money for the first-term Democrat.


Billionaire climate-change activist Tom Steyer hasn't reached the same conclusion. Hagan's not on the list of seven Democrats that Steyer's NextGen Climate Action super PAC said Thursday that it willsupport in 2014.

LCV President Gene Karpinski said Hagan "knows that it will create jobs and grow the renewable energy economy while reducing our dependence on dirty fossil fuels." The group has raised $86,000 for her race through its GiveGreen fundraising campaign.

But Steyer's group—which plans to pour $100 million into 2014 contests—is applying a different filter into the Senate and governor's mansion races it's getting involved in.

NextGen says it's choosing races where climate is "on the ballot," there's "significant daylight between a pro-climate candidate and an anti-science candidate," and there's potential for longer-term policy impact.

Hagan also supports the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline, a fact LCV—which is battling the pipeline alongside Steyer and other activists—is apparently willing to look past.

However, it's not clear what if anything LCV has planned in the race beyond the endorsement. A spokesman declined to say Thursday whether the group would run ads or do fieldwork on Hagan's behalf.

GREEN GROUPS RAISE $3 MILLION FOR MIDTERMS. Including the funds for Hagan, LCV announced that its GiveGreen campaign has raised more than $3 million this cycle, which president Gene Karpinski said was "more money, and faster, than ever before." The accelerated fundraising comes after a partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund and a $5 million fundraising goal.

Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado has drawn $120,000 from the campaign for his tough reelection challenge from Rep. Corey Gardner. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon has netted $112,000 and New Mexico's Tom Udall has received nearly $90,000. Topping the list was Massachusetts' Edward Markey with nearly $270,000, a total that includes the funds raised for his 2013 special election.

SPEAKING OF NORTH CAROLINA … E&E Daily launches a series on the Tarheel State's rightward shift with a look at how the state's recent coal-ash spill and other environmental issues play into the changing political atmosphere there. (Dan Bush and Josh Kurtz, E&E Daily)

SEC OIL RULE BACKERS: IT WON'T HELP PUTIN. The two senators who wrote the law forcing oil companies to disclose payments to foreign governments are bristling at a Wall Street Journaleditorial that calls it a gift to Vladimir Putin. "In reality, corruption and poor governance in the energy sector are at the heart of the current crisis with Russia. They pay for Mr. Putin's military adventurism and fund his political stability," write Sen. Ben Cardin and now-retired Sen. Dick Lugar, who inserted the SEC disclosure mandate into the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, in a letter to WSJ. The paper, in its mid-May editorial, wrote that "Even as the Russian autocrat leverages his energy resources against his Western neighbors, the SEC is making it harder for U.S.-listed companies to compete against the likes of Gazprom."

MINING COMPANY SUES EPA OVER ALASKA 'VETO.' The company fighting to build a huge gold and copper mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed is asking a federal court to reverse a preliminary EPA move to block the project. "If the EPA veto proceeding is allowed to upend the permitting process, the entire administrative process will be eviscerated," states the Pebble Limited Partnership's complaint filed with a federal district court in Alaska.

SAJAK SAYS TWEET WAS HYPERBOLE. After sending out a tweet on Tuesday that boldly proclaimed "I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists," Wheel of Fortune game-show host Pat Sajak said on Wednesday that he was joking. "As most of you know, original Tweet was intended to parody the name-calling directed at climate skeptics. Hyperbole," he wrote via twitter.

IN ADDITION TO SAJAK, THE POPE IS TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. It didn't draw as much attention as Sajak's climate tweets, but Pope Francis spoke about climate change on Wednesday. "We are Custodians of Creation. But when we exploit Creation we destroy the sign of God's love for us, in destroying Creation we are saying to God: 'I don't like it!. This is not good!' 'So what do you like?' 'I like myself!' – Here, this is sin!," he said, according to Vatican Radio.

He later continued: "Safeguard Creation. Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us!"Smithsonian has more on his remarks here.

WATER BILL CLEARS CONGRESS. In a 91-7 vote, the Senate passed the conference report of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which authorizes billions for ports, flood control projects and other water projects across the country. The bipartisan, bicameral agreement now heads to the president's desk.

IT PROBABLY WON'T PASS (OR GET A VOTE). Fighting words in a tweet Thursday from Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut: "Thinking of introducing a bill which prohibits federal fire/flood/disaster funds to districts of climate change deniers. #eaturowncooking"

ENERGY INDUSTRY DIVIDED OVER CLIMATE RULE. Despite predictions that major players in the energy sector plan to pushback on a soon to be released draft rule to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants, some utilities see the regulation as an opportunity rather than a curse. In particularly, some power providers believe the Environmental Protection Agency regulations could boost renewable energy sources including nuclear power and wind. (Mark Drajem and Mark Chediak, Bloomberg)

SENATE DEMS ANXIOUS OVER REGULATION. Seven Senate Democrats including Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are asking the administration to rethink the draft regulation for new power plants mandating the use of carbon capture and storage. The senators say the technology has not been adequately demonstrated on a commercial scale and should not be required under the regulation.

WATCHDOG ASKS FOR RFS INVESTIGATION. Citing a Reuters report, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are calling on EPA's inspector general to investigate whether the Carlyle Group and Delta Airlines influenced the agency's decision to lower renewable fuel targets in its proposed renewable-fuels standard.


WHAT'S AT STAKE AT FERC? Is the nomination of Norman Bay to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission set to stir controversy? What's at stake in a decision about who should oversee the agency and how do politics play into the nomination?

"If a potential commissioner is perceived to be an advocate of one particular form of energy over another, he or she is likely to meet substantial political opposition. That seems to be the reason why the most recent nominee, Ron Binz, turned out to be controversial." —Michael Canes, distinguished fellow, LMI.

Read the full responses from National Journal's Energy Insiders.


GREEN BUSINESS FORUM. The Wharton Club of D.C. holds a Green Business Forum.

PARTICLE PHYSICS PANEL. The Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel holds an event to unveil "a strategic plan for the next 10 years in the context of a 20-year global vision for the field of particle physics."

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