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Breaking Down Bipartisan Efforts on Tariffs, Federal Land Leasing

Tim TarpleyAnalysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing April 27 examining energy development on federal lands. The hearing focused on the status of the Department of Interior’s current moratorium onshore oil and gas leasing program. The hearing featured testimony from Nada Culver, Deputy Director of Policy and Programs at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon; Brian Vallo, Governor of the Pueblo of Acoma; Vicki Hollub, President and Chief Executive Officer of Occidental Petroleum; and Kathleen Sgamma, President of the Western Energy Alliance.

Western Energy Alliance partners with the Council on the federal lands issue, and Sgamma used her testimony to discuss the economic and employment implications of continuing the federal ban.

Witnesses on both the majority and minority sides expressed concern with maintaining a long-term leasing ban, including witnesses invited by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who leads the panel for the majority.

In his opening statement, ranking member Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) highlighted the huge economic benefits of oil and gas leasing to the country and the states where the activity occurs.

“In 2019, oil and natural gas leasing and production on federal lands generated about $4.2 billion dollars,” Barrasso said. “Half of that money went to the federal treasury. Almost half the money went back to western states. More than a quarter of the money went to New Mexico alone. In contrast, wind and solar on federal lands have generated no more than $22 million in any given year. President Biden’s plan to end oil and gas leasing on federal lands will devastate the economies and communities of Wyoming, New Mexico, and many other states.”

The Council is continuing to meet with policymakers on both sides of the issue to urge a discontinuation of the moratorium on new leases on federal lands and waters.

Section 301 Tariffs

China’s foreign vice-minister Xie Feng met with Shanghai-based U.S. business leaders to request help pressuring the Biden Administration to remove tariffs on Chinese goods. Xie, appointed in February to his new role in charge of policy planning and U.S. affairs, met with Jeff Lehman, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai’s chair, Commerce president Ker Gibbs, and representatives from major companies including General Motors, Ford, Disney, Delta, United Airlines and the United Parcel Service.

The tariffs issue is heating up in the U.S. as well. All Section 301 exclusions not related to COVID-19 expired on December 31, 2020. The Biden Administration extended pandemic-related exclusions to September 30, 2021. Included in the expired exclusions were those for products used by the OFS. The Council had successfully petitioned USTR to obtain the exclusions in 2019 and 2020.

Biden Administration officials have indicated that Section 301 duties would remain in place for the time being, but many in the business community and on the Hill are asking for the USTR to restart an exclusion process. Last week, a bipartisan group of 40 senators sent a letter to the USTR asking for a new process. Additionally, the senators asked the USTR to renew expired and expiring Section 301 exclusions.

The Council is working closely with other trade organizations to support USTR in reengaging on this issue.

For more information on the Council’s advocacy efforts or to get involved, contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley


Tim Tarpley, SVP Government Affairs & Counsel, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, Council activities and more.