Pruitt, Wyoming, and a temperature record highlight a wild Wednesday for all things climate-related
Wednesday’s child is full of woe.
Woeful for some, promising for others, the byproducts of the most recent ‘Hump Day’ were certainly interesting for the energy world.
Let’s begin at Mission Control, 8:00 AM: Two federal agencies—NASA and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)—announced that 2016 was the warmest year since modern record-keeping began, in 1880. The year marks the third straight for record warmth in accordance with this source of data. They shouldn’t really need it, but here was their proof of credibility:
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, EPA nominee Scott Pruitt held firm on his stance that Earth’s climate, while undergoing changes, is only affected by human activity to a debatable extent. Pruitt’s opposition to climate science has been widely known for years now, and he has weathered a flurry of criticism from all sides well before his hearing. Perhaps more pertinent at this juncture is to look at what his (probable) appointment will mean for the Environmental Protection Agency and its many controversial legislative measures. Pruitt has expressed plans to rectify—or terminate—the Clean Air Act and Clean Power Plan, specifically to lift punishments related to pollutants and heighten states’ rights. He repeatedly stressed his view that environmental regulation should primarily be in the hands of the states. This could have companies in the Oil and Gas industries licking their chops. The question is, how much will Pruitt truly be able to enact?
While environmental activists can question Pruitt’s sense of reality all they want—they’re also being forced to acknowledge that he isn’t alone in his position—entire states are already mobilizing.
Wyoming. The state with the lowest population made its voice heard Wednesday, raising sizable controversy but also exhibiting the states’ rights approach that may be championed by the new administration. For the Equality State, not all energy is created equal. Its legislature is considering a bill that would effectively outlaw renewable energy in the state.
The proposed Electricity Production Standard would penalize utilities in Wyoming for generating electricity from solar and wind energy. The bill would allow electric power to be generated using one of six pre-approved sources, including oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydropower and coal, to be used by Wyoming utility companies for electricity generation. Neither solar nor wind energy are included on the list of allowed fuel sources. If the bill is passed, utilities in Wyoming would incur a penalty of $10 per megawatt hour whenever they used wind or solar to produce electricity for state customers.