News of the Day: Final EPA Clean Air Act Cost Benefit Rule: Environmental Stewardship & Healthy Economy not mutually exclusive.
EPA moves to make it harder for Biden to justify stricter air pollution limits
Abby Smith, The Washington Examiner, December 9, 2020
The Environmental Protection Agency moved Wednesday to make it harder for the agency to justify stricter air pollution limits in future rules, a step proponents hope will protect the private sector from aggressive regulation by the Biden administration.
Wednesday’s action, a final rule, makes changes to the agency’s methods for calculating costs and economic benefits in a way that will make more proposals seem like they would do more damage than good.
The rulemaking, which EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced Wednesday during a virtual event with the conservative Heritage Foundation, requires the agency to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for every major air pollution regulation and, to the extent possible, to make the data available to the public.
However, it narrows the kinds of costs and benefits the EPA is able to consider when it sets pollution limits, restricting the agency to weighing only the economic benefits resulting directly from reducing emissions of the targeted pollutant.
Oil Crashes After EIA Reports Huge Crude Build
Irina Slav, OilPrice.Com, December 9, 2020
The Energy Information Administration reported today a massive crude oil inventory build of 15.189 million barrels for the week to December 4, after a modest draw of 700,000 barrels estimated for the previous week.
This week’s rise in crude inventories came close to the largest crude build ever, which was recorded earlier this year for the week ending April 10, when the EIA reported a 19.25 million barrel inventory build.
A day earlier, the American Petroleum Institute had reported a crude oil stock build of just of 1.1 million barrels along with much larger builds in gasoline and distillate fuels.
At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $49.38 a barrel, with West Texas Intermediate changing hands for $46.05 a barrel, both up from opening.
Cheniere Sees Biden Following Trump in Support of LNG Industry
Sergio Chapa, Yahoo! Finance, December 8, 2020
After four years of pro-natural gas policies from the Trump White House, the boss of the largest U.S. buyer and exporter of the fuel is untroubled at the prospect of incoming President Joe Biden.
Cheniere Energy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Fusco said he’s confident of support from the new administration, despite having yet to meet with the Biden transition team, and the president-elect’s vow to focus on environmental regulation and support renewables over fossil fuels.
“We really don’t see any pivots from the last four years to the next four years,” Fusco said in an interview.
How the road to renewables runs through mining
Luiza Ch. Savage, Politico, December 9, 2020
As the incoming Biden administration and like-minded leaders around the world try to wean the world off fossil fuels, they’re relying on a non-renewable resource: the rare earths and minerals needed for the production of rechargeable batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.
The materials are overwhelmingly produced by one nation: China.
Rising tensions with Beijing and growing global demand for battery-powered electric vehicles are now setting off a quest for a new form of energy independence. While Persian Gulf states owed their petroleum power to geology, China’s dominance of so-called critical minerals is man-made — the result of Beijing’s aggressive acquisition of mining rights abroad and development of a processing industry at home.
The U.S., Europe, Canada and others are starting to reach for China’s playbook, seeking to boost domestic mining and processing — and collaborating with trusted allies.
Stutes opts to join Alaska House Majority Coalition
Margaret Bauman, The Cordova Times, December 8, 2020
Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, is leaving the Republican caucus to join the Alaska House Majority Coalition, a decision she says is necessary to defend the interests of her legislative district.
Stutes said Tuesday, Dec. 8, in an interview with The Cordova Times, that it was a really tough choice, a very difficult decision for her as a Republican, “but you know me, you know that during my time in Juneau I’ve never lost sight of where I come from,” she said. “Although a proud Republican for 50 years, I am first and foremost a representative of my district.”
“It is critical now, more than ever, that we stand our ground to protect and restore our coastal communities,” Stutes said.
Protection of the Alaska Marine Highway System, which is critical to the socio-economic well-being of coastal communities, is an issue of particular concern to Stutes.
CLIMATE CHANGE CONVERSATIONS
The US Must Meet the Material Needs of the EV Revolution
Thomas Madison Jr., Real Clear Energy, December 9, 2020
In January of 2007, Apple launched its first iPhone. At the time, there was a compelling sense that something special was happening, but very few people truly understood where the moment would lead. We had entered the “smart phone age,” which was accompanied by a world of connectivity previously unimaginable. Today we are quickly arriving at another world-changing moment, and this time it will be literally and figuratively driven by the electric vehicle (EV).
Just as the birth of the smart phone fostered fierce competition among inventors, investors, developers, and manufacturers, it’s happening again with EVs. Despite being a relatively small share of today’s automobile market, a flood of capital is pouring into electric propulsion platforms and the batteries that power them. GM alone will commit $27 billion to EV development over the next five years; Volkswagen is investing $86 billion. From Tesla and Cadillac to Mustang and Hummer, the future of motor vehicles in America and around the world is electric.
If we can’t move forward with intelligent projects, increased reliance on mineral imports from places that lack adequate environmental and labor standards becomes inevitable. In the same measure, our failure to boost essential mineral production in America could easily deter or derail critically important new energy technologies.