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Exxon made more money than God
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PRESENTED BY BIG OIL PRIDE FLAG DAY WEEK
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Our nation is responding to the deadly global crisis with the breakneck construction of liquefied natural gas export terminals, with five now in operation and 25 more planned or under construction, the climate equivalent of dozens of new coal plants. What’s so fun about LNG exports is that they help speed the burning of the planet while increasing domestic natural-gas prices, so a real win-win for the Democrats in office.
President Joe Biden’s global fracking czar Amos Hochstein (official title: “Presidential Coordinator for Build Back Better World”) testified before the Senate last week that U.S. LNG exports to Europe have risen sharply.
Speaking at the Time 100 summit last Tuesday, Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry rebuked his administration:
“You have this new revisionism suggesting that we have to be pumping oil like crazy, and we have to be moving into long term [fossil fuel] infrastructure building, which would be absolutely disastrous,. We have to push back, and we have to push back hard.”
Kerry went further at the Summit of Americas on Wednesday:
“There are vested interests right now trying to exploit Ukraine and tell people we need a whole new generation of infrastructure built out that is going to kill 1.5, let alone 2 or 2.7,” he said. “We cannot allow that to happen.”
Maybe John and Amos need to get together before Joe heads to Saudi Arabia next month. On Thursday, senior Biden officials Andrew Light, Harry Kamian, and Jake Levine go before Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) to further discuss U.S. efforts to support European energy security in response to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine—unfortunately more fracking than heat pumps.
The profiteering by the oil and gas industry and Wall Street speculators as gas prices go past $5 a gallon is eye-popping. As Biden said on Friday, “Exxon made more money than God this year.”
Is the Senate rushing to pass the modest Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act (H.R. 7688)? Don’t worry: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) will protect the Republican filibuster.
Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Katie Porter (D-Calif.) sent letters to the American Petroleum Institute and five public relations firms—FTI Consulting, Story Partners, DDC Advocacy, Blue Advertising, and Singer Associates—requesting all documents about their PR campaigns on behalf of fossil fuel industry clients.
The House is bringing the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act (H.R. 7606) to the floor, a package of six bills that includes a smog waiver to allow for year-long sales of ethanol-blended gasoline, subsidies for improved agricultural practices, and support for competition in poultry and livestock markets. They’re also considering the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773), which will fund efforts to conserve and monitor at-risk species.
Governors Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and Mark Gordon (R-Wyo.) will testify on the catastrophe of methane pollution from their out-of-control fracking industries. Though I’m guessing they’ll claim everything is under control.
House Foreign Affairs is reviewing the budget request for the Peace Corps, Development Finance Corporation, and Millennium Challenge Corporation, all of which the Biden administration has been pushing towards climate action. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) chairs a hearing on freight rail safety, including a lot of coal, oil, and even liquefied natural gas. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) chairs an all-male panel on the future of weather research.
The Senate Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), is voting on the nominations of earthquake specialist David Applegate to be director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Puerto Rican diplomat Carmen Cantor to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs, and MIT Course 2 head Evelyn Wang to be director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
After voting on the nominees, the committee will hold a hearing on the epic, fossil-fueled Western drought, though I’m sure Manchin and the Republicans will somehow manage to argue that we need to burn more fossil fuels and cut down more trees to help out.
House Agriculture holds a hearing on climate research. Senate Environment and Public Works has a legislative hearing on four coastal and Great Lakes conservation bills, with testimony from U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Stephen Guertin, Audubon Society CEO Dr. Elizabeth Gray, and South Carolina official Emily Cope. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.) is leading the House Appropriations markup of the $195 billion FY2023 U.S. Department of Agriculture budget.
House Natural Resources is working on a lot of bills this week, including modest public lands bills on Tuesday to some big public waters bills on Thursday. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) has put forward two bills responding to the Western drought crisis, one to establish a national water resources data framework, and one to coordinate the three states in the Rio Grande water basin.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is holding its monthly open meeting on Thursday, with our electric grid’s vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather on the docket (AD21-13-000 to be precise). The public will be able to attend this meeting in person for the first time in years. FERC is also soliciting public comment this week on the $1.3 billion Lines 200/300 fracked-gas pipeline project in Louisiana and the 1.1 GW Cat Creek pumped storage hydropower project in Idaho.
Rishika Pardikar on how the fossil-fuel industry is shutting down climate action through investor-state dispute settlement provisions in international treaties.
Renewable energy certificates are not the market-based panacea some companies claim them to be.
On my reading list: Ted Hamilton’s new Beyond Fossil Law.
Hearings on the Hill: