Congressional Republicans allowed a tax on oil companies that generated hundreds of millions of dollars annually for federal oil-spill response efforts to expire this week — a move that amounts to another corporate break for the industry. The tax on companies selling oil in the United States generated an average of $500 million in federal revenue per year, according to the Government Accountability Office. The money, collected through a 9 cents-per-barrel tax on domestic crude oil and imported crude oil and petroleum products, constituted the main source of revenue for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.The fund has at least $5.75 billion in reserve. Intended to help the government respond quickly to accidents on land or offshore, it was established in 1986 but only got a stable source of funding in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.The tax, which expired on New Year's Eve, had lapsed before but was renewed under the bipartisan 2005 Energy Policy Act. Federal officials recently had debated whether it should be expanded to apply to oil sands products.
Low natural gas prices, not high renewable energy penetrations, are the main cause of low and negative electricity prices that are negatively impacting coal and nuclear operators, a new report from two DOE national labs finds.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a practical solar heater for poultry houses as part of a project partially funded by USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation, the organization announced. Sanjay Shah and his colleagues developed and tested the low-cost solar heater that warms the air as it passes through a black plastic housing that has been heated by the sun. The system is designed to supplement the heat generated in poultry houses using propane-fueled equipment and should reduce overall heating costs at poultry farms where the systems are installed, the group said.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Dec. 20 a significant step towards economic justice for Pennsylvania landowners in his lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Co.Bradford County Common Pleas Court issued an opinion and order denying preliminary objections raised by the defendant companies.The Office of Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks to recover for thousands of Pennsylvania landowners the money wrongfully deducted from fracking royalty checks by Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko Petroleum — in violation of
President Donald Trump's administration is rescinding proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing and other oil- and gas-drilling practices on government lands. The rules developed under President Barack Obama would have applied mainly in the West, where most federal lands are located. Companies would have had to disclose the chemicals used in fracking, which pumps pressurized water underground to break open hydrocarbon deposits.
Sen. Ted Cruz has now gotten multiple meetings at the White House over the Renewable Fuels Standard but the Texas Republican still maintains his hold on Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey's undersecretary nomination at USDA. And, following a meeting Wednesday with staff from several senators at the White House's Eisenhower Executive Office Building, it seems Cruz doesn't know what exactly he wants changed with the Renewable Fuel Standard."He just keeps moving the goalpost and moving the goalpost," said a frustrated Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, on Thursday.Staff from the offices of Sens. Ernst, Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., joined White House staff Wednesday afternoon to discuss options, but staff from Cruz's office and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., did not have any proposals to offer and were not ready to negotiate.
Leaders in the biofuels industry wrote President Donald Trump on Friday after learning Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had floated a proposal to the White House that would essentially cap prices for renewable identification number (RIN) credits at 10 cents apiece. The proposal from the Texas senator, negotiating on behalf of oil refiners, spurred major players in both biofuels and commodity crops industries to send a letter Friday to President Donald Trump detailing why the RIN market exists, how it is operated by EPA, and some of the problems EPA has in providing transparency on RIN trading.Most importantly, the letter praised President Trump for his support of the biofuels industry and reiterated the need to ensure any policy changes don't undercut billions of dollars in biofuels infrastructure that has been put in place since the Renewable Fuel Standard was created.
Look no further than how falling commodity prices have affected rural America in recent years, and you'll get a feel for what the Renewable Fuel Standard has meant to the countryside. Back in 2005 when the first RFS was signed into law, it was challenging just to keep up on the seemingly endless number of announced plans to build corn ethanol plants. Investor groups made public announcements, followed by local, small-town meetings attended largely by farmers and community investors curious about ethanol's economic potential.Today, the farm economy continues on a decline as input costs have remained higher while corn remains priced in the $3 to $4 range. Imagine the state of things without the corn market created by ethanol.Prior to the first RFS from 1997 to 2004, average corn prices nationally averaged between $1.86 and $2.60 per bushel, according to farmdoc at the University of Illinois. From 2006 to 2016, farmdoc said the average annual corn price ranged from $1.96 to $6.67. That meant more money was injected into rural economies following the passage of the second RFS.Do the math: take away the ethanol market and rural America's challenges may be far more difficult.A nine-page analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association released this week provides a look at the numbers.
In an attempt to stay relevant in the low carbon economy of the future, some leading oil and gas stakeholders have been ramping up their investments in renewable energy. BP is among that group, and the company just sank $200 million into a major solar energy deal with the company Lightsource. The new investment is especially noteworthy for the sharp contrast it makes with BP’s previous attempts to move “beyond petroleum.”
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reiterated Tuesday that President Donald Trump will keep his support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, but said changes are needed to help the oil-refining industry deal with what is seen as speculation in the market for renewable fuel credits.