Energy & Environment — House approves bill to restrict oil reserve withdrawals
The House approved a bill that seeks to set stipulations on when a president can withdraw oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Meanwhile, Chevron posts record profits and Elon Musk meets with the White House about electric vehicles.
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Bill limiting SPR releases advanced by GOP House
The House on Thursday passed legislation intended to restrict the president’s ability to release oil from the country’s emergency supply — a bill aimed squarely at President Biden for his handling of rising gasoline prices last year.
- The bill passed in a largely partisan 221-205 vote. Rep. Jared Golden (Maine) was the only Democrat who voted with every Republican in favor of the bill.
- The legislation requires the federal government to develop a plan to increase the percentage of federal lands leased for new oil and gas production if it wants to withdraw oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
- It contains an exception for “severe energy supply interruptions.”
Leasing is an early step in the lengthy process of setting up new oil exploration on public lands and waters. It takes an average of more than four years for leased lands to turn into additional oil.
The legislation is unlikely to make its way past the Democratic-led Senate, and the Biden administration has also said that the president would veto the bill.
Read more about the legislation here, from Rachel and The Hill’s Mychael Schnell.
MUSK MEETS WITH WHITE HOUSE ON EVS, ELECTRIFICATION
Tesla and Twitter magnate Elon Musk met Friday with White House officials to discuss electrification and electric vehicles.
Musk met with Mitch Landrieu and John Podesta, who are in charge of the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Democrats’ climate, tax and health care bill respectively.
They met “to discuss electrification and how the bipartisan infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act can advance [electric vehicles],” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday.
Read more about the meeting here.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION FUNDS BIOFUEL PROJECTS
The Department of Energy on Thursday announced a grant of $118 million in funding for domestic production of biofuels, part of the Biden administration’s emission-reduction goals.
Funding was divided between 17 projects, each of which received between $500,000 and $80 million, according to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. The projects are sited in nine states and the District of Columbia, according to the department. They are divided into four categories: emission reduction using ethanol and integrated biorefinery technology in the pre-pilot, pilot and demonstration stages.
Chevron reports record profits for 2022
California oil giant Chevron Corp. posted record profits of $35.5 billion last year, according to a 2022 fourth quarter report released on Friday.
- Last year’s earnings were more than double those of 2021, when profits reached only $15.6 billion. Driving up profits was a record annual cash flow from oil operations of $49.6 billion, according to the report.
- “We delivered record earnings and cash flow in 2022, while increasing investments and growing U.S. production to a company record,” Mike Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Chevron is the second biggest oil company in the U.S., behind only ExxonMobil, which is set to release its own fourth quarter earnings next Tuesday.
Both companies benefited last year from a surge in global oil prices, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russian crude that followed.
Friday’s report follows another announcement from Chevron that the company’s board had authorized a $75 billion share buyback.
Read more here, from The Hill’s Sharon Udasin.
House panel announces Democratic leaders
Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday announced several leadership posts. Here’s who will be the ranking members of key subpanels expected to influence energy and environment issues:
- Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security – Ranking Member Diana DeGette (Colo.)
- Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals – Ranking Member Paul Tonko (N.Y.)
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations – Ranking Member Kathy Castor (Fla.)
For a list of Republicans tapped to lead the panel’s subcommittees, click here.
ON TAP NEXT WEEK
- The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled “American Energy Expansion: Strengthening Economic, Environmental, and National Security.”
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing examining the Energy Department’s implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Oil refineries release lots of water pollution near communities of color, data show (NPR)
- As the Colorado River Shrinks, Washington Prepares to Spread the Pain (The New York Times)
- Agriculture under pressure: The Imperial Valley braces for a future with less water (The Los Angeles Times)
- UK Sits Out Dispute Between US and EU on Green Energy Subsidies (Bloomberg)
- Solar tax proposal advances in Wyoming Legislature (The Casper Star-Tribune)
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week!
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