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Biden Administration Releases Guidance on Regulatory Plan for Remainder of Term

Analysis by Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley

LNG export
Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley

On Friday, the White House released the “Spring Unified Agenda,” which provides an outline and timeline for the administration’s planned regulatory actions between now and the end of the term. The release is important as it gives us a clue as to what the Administration is thinking as we move into the election cycle. President Biden recently suffered a terrible debate performance and clearly trails Trump in the polls.

 The “Spring Unified Agenda” is important as it gives us a sense of what remaining priorities the Administration plans to tackle and what issues could potentially become campaign issues in the coming weeks and months. It is also important as it shows us what could become targets of a potential Congressional Review Act to overturn the proposed regulations in 2025. It should not, however, be viewed as a specific roadmap; often, regulatory efforts identified in these types of documents are never ultimately released or are significantly delayed beyond the timelines outlined.  

Of interest to our sector, the document indicates that EPA’s anticipated rule on greenhouse gas emissions from existing natural gas power plants may be coming in December after the election. This proposed rule was part of EPA’s rule curbing power plants’ carbon emissions, finalized earlier this year. These rules will come at a time when the country is coming to terms with significant increases in power demand forecasts in the coming years and determining how to provide stable long-term power to meet these demands.

The Interior Department also plans to move forward with a number of pending rules that will directly affect our sector. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) plans to finish a rule this summer that would force offshore oil companies to obtain a bond to cover penalties before they can contest them at the Interior Board of Land Appeals. The agency also aims to update oil spill response regulations. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans to finalize its new “fitness to operate” standards in January 2025, just before the end of the administration. These rules would limit which companies are allowed to operate based on their financial status, environmental record and other metrics.

We will also be closely monitoring a number of expected actions by the Treasury Department to finalize a host of new rules tied to implementing the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.  Treasury is expected to add credits under Sections 45Y and 45E of the IRA for electric power projects that eliminate greenhouse gas emissions including those that use fossil fuels.   The document also indicates that a final proposed rule for production credits for clean hydrogen known as 45V could be on the horizon.

From the campaign trail, what will be of particular note is what energy issues the two campaigns begin to discuss. Post-debate, the media has been almost entirely focused on President Biden’s poor performance, with little focus on any other issues. The court decision at the end of the LNG pause received minimal coverage last week. We can expect this to continue for the near term, at least until there is a firm decision on the future of the Democratic ticket.

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



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