News of the Day:
Biden Should Look to the Fossil Fuel Industry as a Partner in Climate Agenda
Kyle Isakower, Real Clear Energy, January 6, 2021
President-elect Joe Biden has made clear that climate change policy will be a centerpiece of his administration. He has pledged to return the U.S. to the Paris Treaty, and his announced appointments – including John Kerry as his international climate envoy, Gina McCarthy as the White House climate coordinator, and Jennifer Granholm as Energy Secretary – suggest a strong push to shift the transportation sector toward electric vehicles (EVs) and the power sector to renewables.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is certainly good public policy – but so is ensuring that the U.S. does so without sacrificing its energy security. Fact is, fossil fuels will be needed in the short, medium, and long term to meet America’s energy needs. Pursuing an overly aggressive energy transition is not practical.
U.S. Army Corps’ new stream crossing rules could hurt oil/gas pipes -analysts
Reuters, January 6, 2021
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finalized revisions to its Nationwide Permits, a program for utility stream crossings that has been criticized by environmentalists, which analysts say could cause problems for oil and natural gas pipelines.
In recent years, state governments, Native American tribes and environmental groups have successfully challenged the Army Corps’ use of the Nationwide Permit Program to stop construction of several big oil and gas pipelines.
Those projects include TC Energy Corp’s Keystone XL crude pipe and Equitrans Midstream Corp’s Mountain Valley gas pipe.
The revisions, which make it easier for companies to receive Nationwide Permits, also create three categories of linear utility infrastructure: oil and gas pipes, water and sewer pipes, and power and telecommunications lines.
“Because these changes lack scientific or legal justification and threaten important waterways, we hope and expect the Biden administration will move quickly to undo them,” said Jon Devine, the director of federal water policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Analysts at ClearView Energy Partners LLC said the revisions are not scheduled to become final until 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which should provide the incoming Biden administration with options to suspend them.
Crowley sets up new division to focus on offshore wind and LNG
Jason Jian, Splash 247, January 7, 2021
US owner Crowley Shipping has announced the formation of a new division to focus on emerging energy including offshore wind and LNG in the US and adjacent regions.
The company said it has a long history of supporting the oil and gas industry, and that its US-flagged vessel assets, engineering, and logistics services could quickly and easily pivot to support the emerging energy sector.
Crowley expects its expansion in the offshore wind industry to be as a total lifecycle service provider, with tailored solutions in support of the entire project. The solutions include transportation of turbines during construction, designs for industry-specific support vessels, shoreside terminaling and supply chain services from farm construction through decommissioning.
“The new energy division captures our commitment to those cultural principles while delivering the innovative solutions that help customers in these emerging sectors succeed,” said Crowley chairman and CEO Tom Crowley.
“Wind power companies entering the US market have big needs—infrastructure and supply chain just for starters,” said Jeff Andreini, vice president, new energy division of Crowley.
“Because of the newness of the American market, it’s hard for companies to know what they don’t know or will need. Facing this uncertainty, Crowley provides a turnkey supply chain solution for piecing these massive projects together,” Andreini added.
Hecla Mining Company (HL) Breaks into New 52-Week High on January 06 Session
Equities News, January 6, 2021
Hecla Mining Company is a Hecla Mining Co produces and explores for silver, gold, lead, and zinc. Its main silver mines include Idaho-based Lucky Friday and Greens Creek in Alaska.
Shares of Hecla Mining Company (HL) broke into a new 52-week high yesterday, hitting a peak of $6.98. Shares closed at $6.97 after opening at $6.92 for a move of 0.14%. The company now has a market cap of $3.7 billion.
Investors and traders can learn a lot about a stock’s momentum when it sets a new 52-week high. As an example, bullish investors view a company hitting its highest price in a year as a sign of momentum and may interpret it as a signal to buy. On the other hand, bearish investors could view a new 52-week high as a signal of the end of a strong run, with the stock possibly peaking out before an impending period of decline.
Garland Would Bring Rare Environmental Chops as Attorney General
Bloomberg Law, January 7, 2021
Judge Merrick Garland would bring an uncommon level of environmental law expertise to the Justice Department’s top spot if confirmed as attorney general in the incoming Biden administration.
The former Supreme Court pick, whom President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate as attorney general, has helped decide the fate of dozens of federal air, water, and energy policies in more than two decades as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That bench carries a heavy load of environmental cases.
Previous attorney general picks from Democratic and Republican administrations had “nothing comparable on environmental and administrative law” on their resumes, Case Western Reserve University law professor Jonathan H. Adler said of Garland’s experience.
It’s unclear exactly how Garland’s environmental law chops would come into play as attorney general. The Justice Department’s leader typically handles big-picture issues and leaves environmental litigation specifics to a division devoted to the issue.
But Biden plans to prioritize climate action throughout the executive branch. His campaign has committed to revamping parts of DOJ with that goal in mind, and some environmental advocates are already pressuring Garland for follow-through.
What Environmental Issues Will Garland Face?
Garland would helm the Justice Department during a transformative time. The agency is poised not only to shed Trump-era priorities, but also to move in a drastically different direction in nearly every policy area.
On the campaign trail, Biden promised big changes to how DOJ approaches enforcement and environmental justice issues. He committed to ramping up criminal prosecutions against polluters, creating a new Environmental and Climate Justice Division, and supporting climate litigation against the oil industry.
Some environmental advocates are already airing skepticism about Garland, citing his centrist reputation. Folabi Olagbaju, director of Greenpeace’s democracy campaign, issued a statement Wednesday, saying “It remains to be seen if Merrick Garland’s middle-of-the-road approach will be sufficient in this time of reckoning.”
Others are more enthusiastic.
“Judge Garland has shown a relentless commitment to justice throughout his career,” said Sam Sankar, a senior vice president at Earthjustice. “We are confident he will ensure that the Justice Department renews its commitment to ensuring that the federal government follows the law, and enforcing the law, on behalf of everyone in the country.”
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS:
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:
IT’S FINALLY HERE: After years of delay, the IRS issued final guidance yesterday outlining how it will implement federal tax incentives for carbon capture and storage, a step advocates say will help get investors off the sidelines and allow projects to advance with greater certainty.
“It’s a great moment,” said Brad Crabtree, director of the Carbon Coalition, especially coupled with the two-year extension to the tax credit deadlines that Congress just passed last month in a year-end spending deal.
“COVID is still here, and that will remain a challenge, but at least as people look out now for half a decade, they have a path that is clear,” Crabtree told Abby. “That’s much longer than we had before, and it also takes us past COVID.”
What the rules do: The IRS guidelines set out what the agency will require from project developers to qualify for the incentives, including how companies must demonstrate they are securely storing carbon underground. The guidelines also spell out in what situations the government can reclaim the tax incentive if projects fall short of requirements and how to divvy up the tax credit if multiple parties collaborate on a single carbon capture facility.
Crabtree said the IRS made several important tweaks from its proposal that will help build confidence among investors. One was to shorten the timeframe in which projects could be subject to losing the tax credit if the carbon isn’t properly and securely stored underground. The IRS had originally proposed a timeframe of five years but shortened it to three years.
Crabtree also pointed to a new provision in the final guidelines allowing smaller carbon capture facilities to combine into one project to qualify for the tax credit. That’s important for reducing emissions in sectors like ethanol and heavy industry, where projects may not capture the 100,000 tons per year required to earn the federal incentive, he added.