Hurdles galore for offshore energy, EPA analysis & carbon taxes

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Politicians are blocking America’s offshore energy boom
Jim Nicholson, Fox Business, May 21, 2019

In April, the South Carolina Senate advanced a measure that would prohibit the use of state funds for any infrastructure projects related to offshore development. Virginia lawmakers considered similar measures earlier this year. This tactic, though clever, ultimately has potential to harm the coastal communities that lawmakers say they want to protect. Blocking energy infrastructure projects deprives workers of good jobs and weakens our energy and national security.

Our take: “Tapping these energy deposits could support 730,000 American jobs and generate nearly $120 billion in cumulative tax revenues for the federal government over the next 20 years.” We’ve heard this song many times up here in the Last Frontier, most recently regarding the opening of ANWR. This echoes Rexford’s voice from yesterday—let us work toward responsible resource development, get locals into the workforce, and allow for financial independence and stability of the associated regions.

 EPA pursues new cost-benefit analysis for regulation that critics fear will undermine climate rules
John Siciliano, The Washington Examiner, May 21, 2019

The top goal of the action is to ensure the agency balances benefits and costs, Wheeler said, and that one is not considered more than another. Environmentalists decried the memo as a threat to efforts to curb climate change on the grounds that it would undermine the need for new regulations. But industry groups praised the memo as a salutary transparency measure.

From the Daily on Energy:

CENTER-RIGHT GROUP SAYS TIME ISN’T RIPE FOR A CARBON TAX: A conservative group that is working to develop Republican messaging on climate change doesn’t see this week’s big industry push to bolster a carbon tax making much of a difference, at least not right now.

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions has been very busy working with Republican members on forming legislative principles to address climate change, but it doesn’t see a carbon tax as a part of that effort, the group’s executive director Heather Reams said in an interview. “We are more agnostic on a carbon tax” because it’s not “politically viable,” said Reams. Reams acknowledged that there are a number of center-right groups that advocate for a carbon tax, but she says it gives her more room to maneuver without it.

BP and Shell, along with dozens of other companies, descended on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday to show their support for a carbon tax. The two oil companies also forked over $2 million to help the Republican-led Climate Leadership Council’s advocacy wing push for its carbon tax and dividend plan.

A carbon tax is generally seen as a simpler way to regulate carbon emissions. But weathering the price hikes that could result from the tax is a hang-up in more conservative circles. Some groups are trying to mitigate those concerns through a tax-and-dividend approach, in which the tax would be collected and then redistributed to taxpayers to help mitigate any increased energy costs.

Ream says she isn’t lobbying against the tax. It’s just not part of her group’s “playbook,” she said. If groups were coming to together to negotiate on a piece of carbon tax legislation then she might have a different position. But for now, she said, “it’s just not going anywhere.”  Even the Democratic leadership in the House is skeptical about a carbon tax being the direction they want to take ahead of the election, she added.  For the vast majority of Republicans a carbon tax is just too “radioactive” for her group to be pushing, she explained.

Currently, Reams is more focused on legislation that the GOP can endorse that includes supporting renewable energy, like solar, wind, and energy storage. Renewable energy helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it also helps to spur free-market competition that conservatives can also get behind, she explained.  She sees room for Republicans to endorse tax credits for wind and solar as a policy they can get behind, despite conservative critics that say otherwise.