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Energy & Environment Ruling Blocking Climate Accounting Metric Halted

Energy & Environment Ruling Blocking Climate Accounting Metric Halted

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Today we are looking at a court ruling that restored the Biden administrations capability to use a key climate accounting instrument, a push for adding a ban on Russian Oil into a new Trade Bill and how high gasoline prices have dividing Democrats.

Rachel Frazin was the Hill’s editor and Zack Budryk was its reporter. Write to us with tips: rfrazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.

Lets jump in.

 

Climate accounting metric ruling paused

An appeals court stopped a lower court’s ruling that would have prevented the Biden administration to use a key climate accounting method in regulations or other decisions.

To quantify the effects of climate change on society, the Biden administration uses what is known as the social cost of planet-warming gasses.

The history The Obama-era figures were used to temporarily reinstate interim estimates. These estimates gave more weight for climate impacts than Trump-era ones. It also convened a working group interagency to calculate updated estimates.

After several Republican-led states had challenged the Biden administration’s values, Judge James Cain, a Trump appointee blocked the Biden government from using them in February. The red states had argued they would be hurt if the values resulted from less production of fossil fuels or less revenue for states.

So what’s new? A panel of 5th Circuit judges late Wednesday halted Cains preliminary injunction, saying that the states claims are largely hypothetical, coming from potential regulations that may happen rather than actual harm.

“Their claimed injury does not stem from the Interim Estimates themselves, it stems from any forthcoming, speculative, and unknown regulation that may place increased burdens on them and may result, the panel wrote.

When the Biden administration appealed Cains injunction, which blocked it from both using the interim value and blocked the interagency group from working, it argued that Cain’s order hampered a wide range of government activity.

It claimed in court that the ruling had upheld nearly 40 regulations and nearly 90% of environmental reviews that relied upon the values to determine the harm or benefits that certain actions would have on climate change.

Read more about the ruling here.

 

GOP pushes for Russian oil ban in trade bill

A key GOP senator said Thursday that Republicans would want to include language codifying a ban against Russian oil imports to a House-passed Bill to end normal trade relations between Moscow and Washington.

The House passed legislation on Thursday to give President Biden the power to impose tariffs on goods from Russia and Belarus, require the administration to push for Russia’s removal from the World Trade Organization and renew the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

But the bill doesn’t include language codifying Biden’s Russian oil ban. The House passed that as a separate bill earlier this month, which hasn’t yet been taken up in the Senate.

Asked what changes Republicans would want to make to the House bill, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the top Republican on the Finance Committee, told The Hill that they are “working on it” but pointed to the inclusion of the Russian oil ban as something he wanted in the trade legislation.

“My understanding is that they are not going to include … the ban on Russian oil,” Crapo said. “So that’s something that we need to include in it.”

Learn more at The Hills Jordain Carrney.

 

THINK YOUR GASS PRICES are high? CHECK CALIFORNIA 

California is the state with the highest gas prices in the country, with an average price of $5.44 per gallon in March. This is despite the fact that the national average was $4.173.

Experts believe the higher prices are due a unique combination, including higher gas taxes, emission regulations and the Golden States status in fuel islands.

Despite an economic recovery, the U.S. is currently facing record inflation and high oil and gas prices. President Biden warned that high fuel costs will only get worse after the U.S. ban on oil imports from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Recently, oil prices have fallen. This suggests that consumers will be able to get some relief at their pumps in the weeks ahead. However, prices have been on an upward trend in Southern California.

According to AAA data on Wednesday and Thursday, the gas price for Los Angeles County increased by $5.876 to $5.890 a gallons, marking the 23rd consecutive day that county-level costs have increased.

California is following the same trend, with an increase in state-wide averages of $5.694 per week to $5.785 each Thursday.

According to experts in economics, energy policy and economics, there are many factors that contribute specifically to the state’s pain at the pump.

First, California taxes are generally higher than elsewhere, so the gas tax is higher, Sanjay Varshney from California State University, Sacramento, told The Hill. Number two, California’s environmental and emission laws can be more strict, so the mix is required [for]Gasoline tends to cost more.

Kevin Slagle (Vice President of Strategic Communications at the Western States Petroleum Association), said that another key factor is that the state can’t receive any fuel through interstate pipes. The state’s fuel supplies are either made in-state or shipped by truck or ship. These are more expensive methods that are passed on to consumers.

Learn more about the situation.

 

Tensions within the Democratic Party are caused by high gas prices

Progressives are concerned about high gas prices, which are increasing inequalities. This tension is between activists who want Democrats do more to condemn big-oil and those trying to navigate Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine.

Some left-leaning parties are critical about their own party’s ties with fossil fuel. They argue that Democrats should do more for the industry to reduce its influence and clout.

Jeri Shepherd from Colorado, a progressive member of the Democratic National Committee, stated that there is little to no political will to make sure accountability is maintained and for the oil and natural gas industry to fly right. Regular people will feel the pain, while we as a political structure will remain indifferent.

Background: Liberals have been vocal in their criticism of oil and gas corporations. Angry is growing that these firms are experiencing a boom while their customers are being hit with inflation. Gas prices have risen to well over $4 per gallon all across the country.

See Also

Rising gas prices have exacerbated Biden’s political problems with inflation. This has reduced his campaign promise to give relief to the working- and middle-class in their daily lives.

Climate groups are also using more aggressive rhetoric. Several groups are accusing oil companies of using the Russian War to increase profits and to profit from average consumers at the expense the climate.

John Paul Mejia of the Sunrise Movement’s national spokesperson said that the fossil fuel sector is actually showing us their plan. He said that corporations are taking advantage of Americans at the gas station.

He said that he believes everyone is seeing the truth right now.

What’s the deal? The issue is divided among Democrats.

Left-wing organizers and endorsers are supporting candidates who reject fossil-fuel contributions on the campaign trail. This includes in a high-profile Democratic primary matchup in Texas. Insurgent Jessica Cisneros is heading for a runoff election to defeat Rep. Henry Cuellar. Cuellar has received contributions through political action committees that are closely tied to the industry.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D.W.Va.), a proudly accepting fossil fuel funding, has been criticized by progressives for stalling the Senate’s Build Back Better package.

Some left-leaning people have also criticised Biden directly, stating that he must choose between transitioning to clean renewable energy and giving more leverage to fossil fuel executives.

Others have not attacked the president, especially one who is navigating the crisis in Ukraine.

There are real villains. Zac Petkanas is a senior advisor to Invest in America Action. This group advocates for increased public spending. We have a madman invading the sovereign countries, which is driving up not only the cost for fuel but also likely food. 

Learn more from The Hills Hanna Trudo.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING

The Washington Post: Death in the forest

The New York Times: Ukraine Cites a Chevron Tanker and Demands Tougher Restrictions at Russian Ports

Dr. Oz’s First-Class Flip-Flop On Fracking (HuffPost)

This Timber Company Sold Millions of Dollars of Useless Carbon Offsets (Bloomberg) 

Last but not least, something a little bit offbeat but still very much on the beat Do you want to take a trip down the memory lane?

This is it for today. Thanks for reading. Check out The Hills energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We hope to see you Friday. 

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