Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley
Sen. Joe Manchin’s attempt to pass permitting reform this Congress came to an end this week as his efforts to include the measure in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) failed. He and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had been working behind the scenes with Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a last-ditch effort to attach permitting reform legislation to the must-pass NDAA before the end of the year. The permitting legislation died earlier this year before the midterm elections.
Speaker Pelosi was open to the idea of adding the language in the House version of the legislation but faced a revolt by some of the more progressive members of the Democratic party. Some progressives threatened to vote against the NDAA if permitting reform was included. Given that there will be some members of both parties that will vote no for other reasons, including the language in the House version become politically impossible.
Additionally, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell added his opposition to the proposal saying that permitting reform does not have any connection to the NDAA and that his caucus would oppose if they were combined.
The fate of permitting reform becomes uncertain, as next Congress will be very difficult for the Manchin proposal. The senator would likely have to begin negotiations with the House and make significant changes to the current proposal for anything regarding permitting reform to move forward.
EU Officials Agree on Russian Price Cap
European Union countries this week agreed to cap the price they will pay for Russian oil. The action comes as Russia continues to lose ground in Ukraine but has begun targeting Ukrainian power and gas infrastructure in an effort to harm the Ukrainian economy and make the winter as hard as possible on the Ukrainian people.
Poland had been holding out for a harsher cap on Russian oil prices, but a deal was ultimately reached on Tuesday. Under the agreement, G-7 countries will ban their insurance and shipping firms from facilitating Russian oil shipments to countries if they are sold above $60 per barrel. The agreement includes requirements to review the plan every two months. The aim is to keep the cap at a level which is at least five percent below the market price for Russian crude.
The Russian government has indicated that they will not accept the measure under any circumstances. A Kremlin spokesman stated “We are assessing the situation. Certain preparations for such a cap were made. We will not accept the price cap and we will inform you how the work will be organized once the assessment is over.”
It is unclear what leverage Russia could have to circumvent the cap, but it can be assumed they may consider crude swaps with countries like Iran.
Tim Tarpley, SVP Government Affairs & Counsel, 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.