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GOP lawmakers ask Trump to assist oil and gas producers

GOP lawmakers ask Trump to assist oil and gas producers
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A group of more than 40 House Republicans wrote to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE urging him to give a boost to oil and gas companies ahead of Trump’s slated meeting with oil executives.

They specifically said in a Thursday letter that the president should lessen royalties for producers who drill on federal lands, bring Russia and Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table, and replace Obama-era methane regulations with “cost-effective guidelines.”

“We ask that you continue to prioritize America’s oil and natural gas producers and workforce,” the lawmakers wrote. 

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“If this market does not stabilize soon, we risk rolling back the success of the U.S. energy industry over the past decade, which will have a disastrous effect on America’s economy and jeopardize our energy security,” they added. 

The move from lawmakers comes as prices have plunged amid decreased demand linked to the coronavirus and a Saudi-Russia production-level dispute.

Prices are down significantly from a high of $53 per barrel in February, however, they rebounded slightly when Trump suggested on Thursday there could be a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia. 

While Republicans have pushed for assistance for the oil and gas industries, Democrats have opposed it, arguing that the coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t be used to worsen climate change. 

There has been particular Democratic opposition to the possibility of waiving or lowering royalties, with Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Prepare for buyers' remorse when Biden/Harris nationalize health care Biden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members MORE (I-Vt.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySupreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising Trump supporters demonstrate across the country following Biden-Harris win Merkley wins reelection in Oregon Senate race MORE (D-Ore.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (D-Mass.) even introducing legislation aimed at preventing the administration from reducing royalty rates for coal, oil or gas recovery.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has taken some actions to boost industry, including a Thursday announcement that it would rent space in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to oil producers. 

The president is expected to meet with executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and Continental Resources on Friday.