E2 Morning Roundup: Obama looks at oil incentives to pay for infrastructure, industry takes exception, Grijalva accuses BP of blackmail and more

The American Petroleum Institute is continuing a media campaign against reducing industry incentives. It is also a topic at API-hosted job rallies in Ohio Tuesday, New Mexico and Illinois Wednesday and Colorado Friday.

 “I would just say that increasing the tax burden on the oil and natural has industry has consequences,” an API spokeswoman emailed.  “If you make it too expensive to do business here in the states, you run the risk of driving investment and American jobs overseas -- at a time when jobs and the economy remains most Americans top concern.”

House Democrat: BP ‘blackmailing” the U.S. government

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a senior Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, Monday said BP “is now openly blackmailing the American government and should be held responsible not just for the damage it caused, but for its consistently indifferent attitude to that damage,” according to a prepared statement.

Grijalva was responding to a Sept. 2 New York Times article citing BP officials as warning that if lawmakers pass legislation barring the company from getting new offshore drilling permits, it may not have enough money to pay for all the damages caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP is referring to a House oil spill plan that includes language from Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) that is intended to keep the company from scoring any new deepwater drilling leases.

Grijalva said considering BP’s resources, “Telling the American people it directly put out of work, 'Sorry, we can't help you unless Congress gives us our way' isn't just insulting -- it's truly unconscionable.”

Don’t forget the drilling ban

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Tuesday in Houston is continuing its series of “fact-finding forums” regarding deepwater drilling safety, well containment and oil spill response. The forums are meant to help BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich determine whether changes are necessary to the scope or duration of the current Interior Department suspension of deepwater drilling.

At least one dissenting voice will be heard. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) – senior House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee and whose district mostly resides within 100 miles of the site of the forum – will testify that Bromwich should “restore responsible, timely permitting of rigs in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and to immediately end the deepwater moratorium,” according to a press release.

Reid hosts clean energy summit

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Tuesday hosts his third annual clean energy summit with the Center for American Progress Action Fund at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Philippe Cousteau gives a keynote address and Reid, CAP’s John Podesta, oil and now-wind baron T. Boone Pickens, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue are among those participating.

Since we’ve been gone

The extended Labor Day weekend brought its share of energy and environmental news.

A couple of our favorites include:

• Al Gore became the first vice president to have a school named after him – and appropriately enough it focuses on environmental studies. But critics charge that the location of the $75.5-million Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences – which Gore is named after along with late author Rachel Carson – may pose a long-term health risk. The school – which will open Sept. 13 – is adjacent to a gas station and across the street from an operating oil well.

• Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch have contributed to the effort to defeat California’s landmark global warming law. A subsidiary of Wichita, Kan.-based Koch Industries made a $1 million contribution Sept. 2 to the campaign for Proposition 23. They join two Texas-based companies, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. According to the Los Angeles Times, a spokeswoman for Flint Hills Resources said the company "may consider additional support." The Koch brothers are ardent libertarians and Tea Party supporters who have long fought environmental laws and their wealth could make an impact on the effort to defeat the California law.

• BP appears to be revving up its efforts to raise cash following mounting costs from its clean-up of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to The Sunday Times newspaper in London. The paper reported that the company raised its target for cash raised from asset sales to $40 billion, from $30 billion. The article is only available to subscribers but here is a followup from Forbes.

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