Energy and environment – Energy chief and oil executives hold ‘constructive’ meeting

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President Biden’s Energy Secretary met with oil industry executives on Thursday as the administration faces pressure to cut sky-high gas prices. Meanwhile, the Fish and Wildlife Service has restored pre-Trump endangered species protections.

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Energy Department says oil meeting was ‘productive’

Oil executives and industry groups said a meeting Thursday with the Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was “constructive”.

  • “Today’s meeting was a constructive conversation about addressing both short-term issues and long-term stability in energy markets,” said Mike Wirth, CEO and Chairman of Chevronin a report.
  • “We remain optimistic about our ability to work together to achieve these shared goals. We appreciate Secretary Granholm’s invitation to participate in the conversation, which has been an important step toward greater energy security, economic prosperity, and environmental protection,” he added.

The American Petroleum Institute and the American fuel and petrochemical manufacturerswho respectively represent the oil industry at large and oil refiners in particular, expressed a similar sentiment.

“Secretary Granholm’s meeting with U.S. refiners today was a constructive discussion about ways to address rising energy costs and create more certainty for global energy markets,” they said. the organizations said in a joint statement.

A Department of Energy reading of the meeting also described it as “productive.”

“The meeting productively focused on dissecting current global supply and refining issues, generating an opportunity for industry to work with government to help provide needed relief to American consumers,” said said the department.

Relationship status: It’s complicated: The positive comments from both sides come amid a period of tension between the Biden administration and the oil companies. In a recent letter to oil refiners, Biden criticized their high profits.

  • “In wartime, far above normal refinery profit margins passed directly to American families are not acceptable,” he wrote in the letter.
  • And ahead of the meeting, Wirth wrote a letter to Biden criticizing what he described as attempts to “vilify” the oil industry.
  • “Despite these efforts, your administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to addressing the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve,” he wrote Tuesday.

The details : Granholm was scheduled to meet with executives from ExxonMobil, Shell, Valero, Marathon, Phillips 66, BP and Chevron on Thursday.

According to the Department of Energy’s reading, attendees discussed what companies are doing to maintain existing operations and barriers to increasing domestic refining, in which oil is turned into gasoline.

Learn more about the meeting here.

Biden administration reinstates habitat protections

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service on Thursday announced a new rule reversing a Trump-era definition of “habitat” applied to endangered animals.

Under the 2020 rule, the definition of federally protected habitats for endangered species was narrowed to those where a species might currently live, excluding those that might one day support a species. On Thursday, FWS reversed that, saying it violated the intent of the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA).

  • When it tightened the definition, the Trump administration argued that its changes would be more consistent and transparent for landowners.
  • But conservationists said the government should be able to protect lands that could house an animal in the future and described Trump’s decision as a “gift to industry”.

“The growing extinction crisis underscores the importance of the Endangered Species Act and efforts to conserve species before declines become irreversible,” said the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and to the parks, Shannon Estenoz, in a press release.

“Today’s action will bring the implementation of the law back into line with its original purpose and intent and ensure that species recovery is guided by transparent, science-based policies and conservation actions that preserve the American biological heritage for future generations.”

Learn more here.

GET WIND OF IT

The White House announced Thursday that it is launching an offshore wind partnership with 11 East Coast states.

  • The partnership will involve strengthening the offshore wind supply chain, expanding the workforce and addressing regional issues such as fishing and grid connection.
  • The states involved in the push include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, according to The Verge.

The federal government, New York and Maryland will also jointly fund the development of a “supply chain roadmap” for offshore wind.

The Department of Transportation will also give funding applications for offshore wind vessels priority status through the federal vessel funding program.

Draft reveals mining would pose risk to watershed

A federal study released Thursday determined that hard rock mining in a Minnesota wilderness area could contaminate the area.

  • In its assessment, the US Forest Service said copper-nickel mining would pose a major risk to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness. Although the assessment is a draft, it proposes a 20-year ban on copper mining on federal lands in the watershed.
  • Potential fallout from mining in the region includes “the creation of permanently stored waste” upstream, which could lead to the discharge of water with high levels of acidity and metal contamination, the IAAF says. Evaluation.

“The greatest potential risk to the water quality of the wilderness area and land in the drawdown areas comes from the catastrophic failure of a tailings storage dam in a wetland,” adds the assessment. .

“Storage of tailings in a wet pond poses a risk of dam failure and the potential release of a large volume of contaminated sediment (tailings) and water into a nearby water body with potential transport of it. ci to downstream water bodies and receptors.”

The assessment comes nearly six months after the Interior Department announced the cancellation of two mining leases in the area, which were granted under the Trump administration in 2019. The January legal opinion determined that the Trump administration had incorrectly renewed the leases in 2019 after initially approving them. the year before.

Learn more about the draft conclusion here.

ON SALE TOMORROW

House Climate Crisis Committee to Hold Hearing on Cutting Methane Emissions

WHAT WE READ

  • Lake Mead nears dead pool status as water levels hit another historic low (NBC News)
  • California’s last nuclear power plant – and the unexpected quest to save it (The Guardian)
  • Forest Service grazing decision angers environmental group (The Associated Press)
  • OPEC+ ponders when to fire its last oil production bullets (Bloomberg)
  • Manchin slams ‘dumb’ EV push, cites Chinese supply chain (E&E News)

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy and Environment page for the latest news and coverage. Well see you tomorrow.

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