Today’s Key Takeaways: Senate liberals bucking “all of the above” permitting reform. OPEC warns IEA about undermining oil investments. EIA sees growth for US NG and LNG production through 2050. Teck pulls plan to split company. Peltola supports International Watershed Board to address mining impacts.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
SENATE LIBERALS DIG IN AGAINST ‘ALL OF THE ABOVE’ IN PERMITTING: Permitting Reform 2.0 kicked off yesterday in the Environment and Public Works Committee, and liberal Democrats are doing all they can this time around to shape the effort up front and avoid a repeat of the Inflation Reduction Act, which saw them swallowing some big concessions on fossil fuels.
Republican and Democratic members picked up the issue where it was left off in December with the failure of Sen. Joe Manchin’s legislation, stressing the need for faster environmental reviews, more electric transmission, and the like.
But Sen. Jeff Merkley and some others resisted that brand of “all of the above” reform to ease regulatory burdens on fossil fuel project construction.
Doing permitting reform as “all of the above,” which characterized Manchin’s permitting bill, and which Manchin has said is the motif behind the IRA rather than its being a “climate bill,” undermines U.S. leadership on climate change mitigation and would make other nations think twice about cutting their emissions, Merkley said.
“I have witnessed how the rest of the world responds to that, saying, “Oh, you’re lobbying us to reduce coal in Indonesia, or change our policies in Vietnam, or stop importing coal from Australia to India … isn’t the United States proceeding to do a lot more fossil projects?’” he said.
He, along with EPW member Ed Markey and seven other Democrats, voted against Manchin’s bill in December even as other Democratic climate hawks voted in favor.
Markey has circulated permitting priorities of his own, which prioritize more electric transmission to clear the interconnection queues that are full of renewable energy projects and would seek to enable more community input under NEPA, rather than add timelines to those processes.
Merkley said transmission is his priority, too, and expressed little appetite to compromise on reforms favoring oil and gas.
“The point I’m making here is that increasing fossil fuel projects is a major catastrophe that cannot be undone by the next generation, because it’s going to be too late,” Merkley told Jeremy.
The rub: There’s lots of pro-fossil sentiment in the permitting reform mix. Manchin is reviving his bill from the last Congress, and EPW Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito,as well as Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso,are teeing up permitting reform bills of their own in the coming weeks.
Barrasso is big on oil and gas, and Capito’s counter proposal to Manchin’s initial permitting bill last year likewise sought to approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The Biden administration has also grown more accepting of the need for additional oil and gas production since the war in Ukraine started, while still favoring clean energy resources over others.
That has driven a wedge between the administration and allies in Congress. Secretary Jennifer Granholm went out of her way last week to say her department supports the Mountain Valley Pipeline in a letter to FERC.
Merkley called the letter “completely misguided” and out of sync with science.
From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy
IEA should be ‘very careful’ about undermining key oil investments -OPEC chief
Maha El Dahan, Reuters, April 27, 2023
- OPEC Sec Gen: lack of investments could lead to volatility
- Says OPEC+ does not target prices, focuses on fundamentals
- OPEC and IEA have jousted for months over outlooks
- OPEC+ dropped IEA as a source for market data last year
U.S. natural gas production and LNG exports will likely grow through 2050 in AEO2023
Energy Information Administration, April 27, 2023
In our Annual Energy Outlook 2023 (AEO2023) Reference case, we project U.S. natural gas production to increase 15% and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to increase 152% between 2022 and 2050. We expect natural gas production to rise to 42.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) by 2050. Production growth is largely driven by U.S. LNG exports, which we expect to rise to 10 Tcf by 2050. Natural gas production growth on the Gulf Coast and in the Southwest reflects increased activity in the Haynesville Formation and Permian Basin, which are close to infrastructure connecting natural gas supply to growing LNG export facilities.
In our AEO2023, we explore long-term energy trends in the United States and present an outlook for energy markets through 2050. We use different scenarios, called cases, to understand how varying assumptions affect energy trends. The AEO2023 Reference case, which serves as a baseline, or benchmark, reflects laws and regulations adopted through mid-November 2022, including the Inflation Reduction Act.
Teck cancels vote on proposed separation
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, April 26, 2023
Just hours before shareholder vote, Teck pulls its plan to split company; leaves door open for Glencore to pursue takeover.
On the dawn of its annual shareholder meeting, Teck Resources Ltd. removed a pivotal proposal to split the iconic Canadian mining company into a base metals-focused company to be rebranded as Teck Metals Corp. and a metallurgical coal company to be named Elk Valley Resources Ltd.
Shareholder approval of this split would have likely put to rest an increasingly hostile takeover bid by Glencore, which wants to merge all of Teck Resources’ metals and coal assets into its own portfolio. A splitting of Teck would have increased the complexity of such a merger.
The cancellation of the vote indicates that Teck’s board and management were not confident that it had the votes necessary for the split that would have likely stymied Glencore’s takeover bid.
Representative Peltola announces support for International Watershed Board to address mining impacts on British Columbia and Southeast Alaska rivers
Sam Erickson, Office of Representative Peltola, April 27, 2023
Monday, Representative Peltola announced her support for an International Watershed Board for certain rivers along the Southeast Alaska and British Columbia border, ahead of meetings this week by the International Joint Commission of the US and Canada in Washington, D.C.
“Alaska and Canada share more than just a border—we share many watersheds and rivers that are critical to our people,” said Representative Peltola. “As the International Joint Commission convenes this week, I must speak up for the many Alaskan communities and Tribes I have heard from who are concerned about the potential impacts of widespread Canadian mineral exploration and development, including the construction of large tailing dams near shared wild salmon habitat. These projects are proceeding quickly, and we must ensure that our shared water resources are protected.
For that reason, I am calling on the Biden Administration to initiate an International Watershed Board for the Taku, Stikine-Iskut, and Unuk-Nass Rivers along Southeast Alaska’s border with British Columbia. This is the best way to ensure that Alaskan communities and tribes downstream from potential and existing mining sites in BC can raise their concerns and participate in an equitable dialogue between our two nations. I am hopeful that the Canadian governments will honor the internationally accepted process as laid out in the Boundary Waters Treaty and allow this critical conversation to take place between all impacted jurisdictions.”