Overnight Energy: Psaki defends gas prices | Biden budget aims to raise $35B from cutting fossil fuel tax benefits

Overnight Energy: Psaki defends gas prices | Biden budget aims to raise $35B from cutting fossil fuel tax benefits
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Programming note: There will be no Overnight Energy on Monday. We’ll be back on Tuesday. 

Today we’re looking at The White House’s defense of increased gas prices and President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE’s proposed budget taking aim at fossil fuel tax benefits.

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PRICE CHECK ON AISLE THREE: Psaki defends gas prices as 'well in line' with recent decades 

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhy does Biden's vaccine mandate not apply to welfare recipients and others? Overnight Health Care — FDA panel backs boosters for some, but not all White House to host global COVID-19 summit next week MORE on Friday said that gas prices have “stabilized” and defended them as “well in line” with recent decades as they reached the highest prices since 2014 ahead of Memorial Day weekend. 

“As Americans are hitting the road, they are paying less in real terms for gas than they have on average over the last 15 years — and they’re paying about the same as they did in May 2018 and May 2019,” Psaki said in a statement. 

“While prices have increased from the lows last year — as demand drastically dipped — prices at just about $3 per gallon are still well in line with what they’ve been in recent decades,” she added. 

The White House official also noted that prices have “stabilized” after climbing earlier this month, and noted that gas supply has also returned to normal after the temporary shutdown of a major pipeline earlier this month prompted panic buying. 

How high were they??? Gas prices reached their highest price since 2014 on Friday, costing an average of $3.04 per gallon nationally, according to AAA.

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However, according to the organization, the price is much lower than gas prices were on Memorial Day weekend in 2014, reaching $3.65 per gallon. 

Going into Memorial Day weekend in 2018, gas prices averaged $2.93 and they averaged about $2.84 on the Friday before Memorial Day in 2019.  

Read more about Psaki’s statement here.

 

TAXATION WITH EXPLORATION: Biden budget aims to raise $35B from cutting fossil fuel tax benefits

President Biden’s budget proposal released Friday takes aim at specific tax provisions that benefit the fossil fuel industry and projects that eliminating these measures will generate $35 billion over the course of a decade. 

The new $6 trillion budget proposal is a more detailed proposal than the “skinny” version released last month, which had called for spending an additional $14 billion on tackling climate change and proposed funding increases for the Energy Department, Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency. 

The White House has also previously, in its infrastructure plan, said that it wanted to “eliminate tax preferences for fossil fuels,” but the new proposal gets much more specific.

The deets: Among the benefits Biden hopes to cut are those received by the fossil fuel industry for enhanced oil recovery, a method of extraction that allows companies to get to fuel they wouldn’t be able to otherwise reach, and another for “intangible” costs like wages, repairs, supplies and other expenses that are needed for oil and gas drilling. 

He’s also targeting a provision that allows oil and gas companies to deduct as much as 15 percent of the revenue they get from a well. 

Read more about what Biden hopes to change here.

 

IN SCIENCE NEWS: Senate confirms Biden's top scientist

The Senate confirmed President Biden’s nominee to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eric LanderEric LanderOvernight Health Care — White House proposes B strategy for pandemic preparedness White House unveils B pandemic preparedness plan Biden administration establishes program to recruit tech professionals to serve in government MORE, in a voice vote on Friday.

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Lander will be the first person at the position since Biden elevated it to Cabinet level, and is the last member of Biden’s Cabinet to be confirmed.

He faced pushback during his nomination hearing over allegations of downplaying contributions of two female scientists, and over two meetings he had in the past with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Lander apologized during his nomination hearing over a question about downplaying the work of two Nobel Prize-winning female scientists in a 2016 paper. 

He also said that the “sum total” of his interactions with Epstein was meeting briefly at two events within the span of three weeks in the spring of 2012. He maintained that he did not know about Epstein's “sordid history before that point,” and when he learned about it, “had nothing to do with him thereafter.” 

Read more about Lander’s confirmation here.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING:

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Jane Goodall: If We Don’t Make Peace With Nature, Expect More Deadly Pandemics, HuffPost reports

Why Biden’s EPA chief stepped into a Chicago permit controversy, The Chicago Sun-Times reports

Bayer hit by failure to cap risk from weedkiller cases, Reuters reports

Florida’s top environmental official resigns. He had been leading Piney Point response, The Miami Herald reports

Granholm touts clean energy jobs in Houston, The Houston Chronicle reports

 

OFF-BEAT AND OFFBEAT: Check out this weird squirrel!