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Maine, Alaska Senate Races Heating Up


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

SEN. MARK BEGICH 'NOT AFRAID' TO TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN ALASKA ... The freshman Democrat, up for reelection in a state that broke for Mitt Romney in 2012, tells KCAW radio that "I'm not afraid to talk about climate change" in the race.


"I live in a state that I see it, whenever I travel. Doesn't matter if it's western Alaska or down to Southeast where acidification is affecting our fisheries, or you go up the interior and the permafrost is melting, impacting infrastructure: I see it. Even though we have a strong, important part of our economy, oil and gas, it doesn't mean that we only are one side of the equation," he tells the station. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW)

... WHILE GOP FOE FACES HEAT FROM RIGHT ON WARMING. Meanwhile Dan Sullivan, one of three Republicans seeking to oppose Begich, is facing scrutiny for his work on climate change when he served in former President George W. Bush's State Department.

The Alaska Dispatch reports on Wikileaks cables that reveal details about Sullivan's time at State—documents that have attracted attacks from Republican primary rival Joe Miller. From their story: "A spokesman for Joe Miller .... said in an email that the Wikileaks cables show that Sullivan 'presided over a shift in the Bush administration's strategy with respect to so-called climate change, and was working to build a consensus on the issue.' " To be clear, that's meant as an attack coming from Miller. (Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Dispatch)


OBAMA WANTS TO HELP BUILD MASSIVE SOLAR PLANT. The president said on Monday during a meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet that the U.S. will lend assistance during the construction of a 141-megawatt solar power plant in Chile. The plant stands to become the largest solar project in Latin America. (Associated Press)

SUPREME COURT WON'T HEAR FUEL-STANDARD CASE. In a win for environmentalists, the Supreme Court said it won't hear a challenge to California's low-carbon fuel standard, which requires a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. The appeal came in a case brought by ethanol producers and oil refiners, who said that the California policy favored in-state fuel over out-of-state products, but the Supreme Court let stand a 2013 appeals court decision that said the practice was not discriminatory.

GRID REGULATOR WON'T SEEK ANOTHER TERM, KNOCKS 'RAW' HILL POLITICS. John Norris, a Democratic member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is fed up with the "raw political power moves" on Capitol Hill surrounding his agency. Norris won't seek another term when his current one expires in mid-2017. (Christine Cordner, SNL Energy)

WALL STREET'S CLIMATE WAR INTENSIFIES. An activist group on Monday unveiled a new tool for keeping tabs on what companies are—and aren't—disclosing about risks they face from global warming.


The investor advocacy group Ceres has launched a searchable database of what 3,000 large corporations say about climate change in annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Ben Geman, National Journal)

NEW YORK FRACKING BANS UPHELD. The New York Appeals Court voted 5-1 on Monday to uphold bans on fracking put in place in two New York State municipalities. Environmentalists are hailing the decision as a precedent-setting case that they say shows that towns can decide whether or not to permit drilling in the state. (Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg)

SEN. COLLINS GETS LCV NOD, DESPITE KXL SUPPORT. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund threw its weight behind its first Republican candidate this cycle, endorsing Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. LCVAF President Gene Karpinski credited her with "finding bipartisan solutions that will safeguard our environment and combat climate change while promoting clean energy." The endorsement comes despite Collins's support for the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate; LCV and other groups have said that the pipeline won't be a line in the sand for their endorsements (a debate National Journal covered last month).

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Some in the state have pointed out that Collins's opponent, Democrat Shenna Bellows, is no environmental slouch either. In an interview with Kate Sheppard at The Huffington Post, Bellows said Collins "should be offering stronger environmental leadership" and her supporters have said that the incumbent is essentially graded on a curve because of her party.

MILITARY BASES AT RISK FROM GLOBAL WARMING. A new report released by the Government Accountability Office tells the Defense Department that it must take stock of and prepare for the impact of climate change on military assets. The report calls on DOD officials to prepare a detailed plan complete with timelines outlining how the department will protect its facilities from the threat of global warming. The Pentagon said that it agreed with the recommendations. "The department will work to review processes and criteria ... to strengthen consideration of climate change adaptation," it said in a statement. (Alan Neuhauser, US News & World Report)

CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS PENGUINS' MARCH. Smithsonian reports: "The iconic emperor penguin march across the Antarctic ice could one day be more of an isolated waddle. Cute as they may be, emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are in for a rough patch with the impending threat of global climate change, according to predictions of an international team of scientists." The story unwraps new research in the journal Nature Climate Change that forecasts a 19 percent decline in emperor penguin colonies in the next century. (Helen Thompson, Smithsonian)

VOTERS WANT POLITICIANS TO SUPPORT CLIMATE ACTION. New research from the Yale project on Climate Change Communication titled "The Politics of Global Warming" finds that registered voters are nearly three times as likely to vote for politicians at the federal level who believe that climate change is real and support action to address it. The research also finds a major divide among Republican voters on the issue, with 65 percent of liberal to moderate conservative voters saying that they support limits to cap emissions from power plants. Read the report here.

POVERTY PERSISTS IN OIL PATCH. Despite the fact that an oil and gas boom has brought high wages to some employed by the energy industry in Texas, widespread poverty continues to prevail in the heart of the Eagle Ford shale play. (Manny Fernandez and Clifford Krauss, New York Times)

MICRO-REFINERIES COULD MAKE CRUDE SAFER. Responding to a series of recent crude-by-rail accidents and news that crude oil sourced from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota may be more flammable than other types of crude, smaller refineries in the state have pitched an idea to remove volatile compounds from the oil before it goes to market. (Patrick Rucker, Reuters)


This week's National Journal Energy and Environment Insiders Discussion asks the question: What's next for oil exports? After the Commerce Department signed off on exports of an ultralight form of minimally processed crude oil, has the Obama administration taken a step toward lifting the decades-old crude-export ban? How does this stand to affect energy markets at home and abroad?

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


EUROPEAN ENERGY SECURITY. The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a discussion on "EU Energy Security and Transatlantic Cooperation." Dominique Ristori, director general for energy for the European Commission, is the featured speaker.

SENIOR STATE DEPT. OFFICIAL ON RUSSIAN CONFLICT'S ENERGY DIMENSIONS. The Woodrow Wilson Center Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies holds a discussion on "Russia, Ukraine and Energy Security." Speakers include Carlos Pascual, the State Department's outgoing special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs.

CLIMATE CHANGE WILL MAKE YOUR SUMMER WORSE. The Natural Resources Defense Council holds a conference call briefing on "Climate Change Will Make Eight Things You Hate About Summer Worse," including heat waves, bad air alert days, insects, poison ivy, dangerous swimming conditions, and ruined visits to national parks.

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