Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley
Drama continues on Capitol Hill as Sen. Joe Manchin pushes for inclusion of his signature permitting reform legislation in the spending package which must pass before the end of the month.
Sen. Manchin held a press confidence on September 20 stating that he still expected the bill to pass despite objections by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Ed Markey from his own party and a letter signed by 77 progressive members of the House that urged their leadership to separate the bills. Notably however, the letter did not bind the members to vote no if the permitting legislation was included. Sen. Manchin released his proposed text Wednesday. The Energy Workforce team will begin analyzing the text and have updates soon.
Senate Looks to Expand Russian Sanctions as War Appears to Reach Breaking Point
Senators Chris Van Hollen and Patrick Toomey on Tuesday offered a bipartisan legislative framework that would expand sanctions on imports of Russian oil. The bill is being introduced under the cloud of uncertainty, as it appears that Russia will ramp up its war in Ukraine by staging sham elections in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to declare the eastern provinces as part of Russia and potentially increase Russian military activities in the area. Russian President Putin also announced he would mobilize military reserves to bolster troop numbers against Ukraine, and he made veiled threats of using nuclear weapons. Relations with NATO and the EU could deteriorate even further following these actions.
Per the terms of the bill, the Biden Administration would set a price cap on Russian oil no later than March 2023 at a level to be determined with international allies. The cap would be lowered by one-third annually until Russia reached the point where they are selling oil at the cost of production. Any financial institution found to be not complying with the cap would be subject to additional sanctions beyond those already in place.
The framework would also apply sanctions to countries found to be importing more oil from Russia than they had prior to the invasion. Those sanctions would last for seven years, or until Ukraine and Russia reach a diplomatic agreement, according to the framework. This is extremely important, as it would hit countries like China and India that have increased purchases of Russian oil as sanctions from the West have gone online, in order to obtain cheaper oil for their domestic markets and thus helping Russia offset the effects of the sanctions. The legislation is meant to bolster the price cap set by the G-7 earlier this month.
With Russian actions only becoming more aggressive, the world community is looking for more options. Russia is still selling about $1 billion in exported oil a day, according to many analysts. This money is keeping the Russian economy afloat and has also worked to stabilize the price of oil to some extent. Prospects for the bill seem strong, especially should we see continued aggressive actions by Russia in the coming days.
If you would like to get involved with Energy Workforce advocacy efforts or the Government Affairs Committee, contact SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.
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.