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House Energy & Commerce Committee Discusses Carbon Pricing, Climate Action

Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) said this week that the Energy and Commerce Committee’s climate legislation from 2020 would be the template for legislative action this year. He said he would consider all options, including a clean energy standard and carbon pricing. Tonko leads the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Change. 

“After years of headwinds on climate action, this is the first time in a very long time that I’ve felt really excited,” Rep. Tonko told reporters at a virtual press conference. “There will be stumbling blocks and pitfalls along the way, but I have high hopes for our work on the environment and certainly climate action in our subcommittee this term.”

While past efforts at carbon pricing failed, such a policy could advance in the House. It will be tougher for carbon pricing to clear the Senate given the close margins. It is unclear if Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other senators would be willing to vote for carbon pricing. This could be significant to the OFS sector and will be closely watched. 

Manchin sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reverse course and reinstate the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. In another signal of fracturing support for this action, a pro-Keystone budget resolution amendment passed the Senate last week, and the president of the AFL-CIO joined Sunday talk shows to urge President Biden to reinstate the permits.

Also in the Senate this week, the Environment and Public Works Committee advanced Michael Regan’s nomination to be EPA administrator by a 14-6 margin. Regan is the former head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. 

On Wednesday, President Biden nominated David Turk, a high-ranking official at the International Energy Agency, to be Deputy Energy Secretary.

Turk is currently the deputy executive director at the Paris-based organization, which provides a global outlook on energy trends, helps steer international policy, and acts as a means for countries to communicate and negotiate on international energy issues.

Previously, Turk worked on international technology and clean energy strategy in the Energy Department during the Obama Administration. As part of this role, he launched Mission Innovation to encourage global clean energy technology adoption.

Turk is expected to work in close coordination with John Kerry and cross-agency efforts on climate change in the Biden Administration.  

If you would like to get involved in the Council’s advocacy efforts, please contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley

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