webnexttech | Daily on Energy: A notable ‘no’ vote from Tim Kaine
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KAINE VERSUS ROSNER FOR FERC: Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine is opposing David Rosner’s nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, citing previous opposition over the approval of the Mountain Valley pipeline last year. What happened: The Senate moved forward with Rosner’s nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last night – but one notable vote against Rosner’s confirmation came from Kaine. His opposition, he outlined in a statement, follows the approval of the more than 300-mile natural gas pipeline that runs into his home state. When the project was included in a bill that would raise the debt ceiling last year, Kaine was furious that he wasn’t consulted by the administration – and fought to get the project stripped through the amendment process. His statement following his Rosner opposition: “Like many Virginians, I was deeply frustrated by Congress’ decision to greenlight the MVP without normal administrative or judicial review, which took away my constituents’ ability to share their concerns. Today—the day that the MVP asked FERC for permission to switch on the gas—I voted no on rubber-stamping the same old people to FERC, especially to replace a commissioner who was forced out for implementing the kinds of permitting process improvements that Americans deserve.” Just a reminder: FERC granted approval on Tuesday for Equitrans Midstream Corp. to begin operations at the Mountain Valley Pipeline – the final stage for the controversial project. Wait, but what does that have to do with Rosner? Rosner was assigned as a detailee to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under Chairman Joe Manchin since 2022 – and works as an energy industry analyst for FERC simultaneously. Manchin had recommended Rosner to the Biden administration for the vacant FERC seat last year, E&E News reported. Manchin was also the main voice advocating for the fast tracking of the MVP project – and White House officials had worked to honor a promise previously made to Manchin to fast-track the project and vote on his permitting reform bill, in exchange for his vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. Expect Kaine to oppose another nominee for similar reasons: Lindsey See, the Republican nominee and West Virginia’s current solicitor general, had defended the state’s Department of Environmental Protection over a water certification the agency issued for the MVP. Vote breakdown: Rosner was ultimately able to move forward bipartisanly in a procedural vote of 67-24. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders – both climate hawks – joined Kaine in opposing the nominee. Many of the Republican senators who voted against Rosner were conservative lawmakers. Nine senators did not vote. Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment writer Nancy Vu (@NancyVu99), with help from policy editor Joseph Lawler. Email nancy.vu@washingtonexaminer dot com for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list. $1B IN EV TAX CREDITS CLAIMED: More than $1 billion in tax credits have been claimed by consumers for electric vehicles – funding the purchase of more than 150,000 clean vehicles since the beginning of this year, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday morning. More details: The tax credits, known as 30D and 25E, can allow consumers to qualify for up to $7,500 for a new vehicle and up to $4,000 for a used clean vehicle. The Treasury touted that the tax credits add to the savings that EV buyers see from lower maintenance and fuel costs. “This discount is increasing consumer choices and creating new opportunities for companies to expand their customer base,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. A bit disappointing: While the $1 billion is an impressive number, the number of vehicles that qualified for credits only make up a small number of electric vehicles on the road. According to Edmunds sales data, there were more than a million EV sales and 1.2 million hybrid sales in 2023 – amounting to 2.3 million clean vehicle sales. The amount of clean vehicle sales that have used the tax credit so far amounts to 6.5% of the sales from last year. Why this is important: The paltry number of consumers that have taken advantage of the tax credit highlights a hurdle the Biden administration is facing in rolling out the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, while looking to electrify the country’s vehicles. In a move to incentivize more sales, the administration began allowing car dealers to provide the rebate to customers in the beginning of this year and directly receive reimbursement from the government. Yet the limited pool of cars now eligible for the credits has restrained take-up. Some of those restrictions: Buyers can’t use the rebate on EVs that exceed $80,000 for a truck or SUV, and $55,000 for a passenger car. Single, unmarried consumers can’t qualify for the credit if they make more than $150,000. Furthermore, sourcing regulations limit the number of eligible vehicles. GOP BILL TO COMBAT EFFICIENCY STANDARDS FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A group of Senate Republicans has introduced a bill that would require the Energy Department to change the method it uses to calculate the fuel economy of electric vehicles – saying the agency’s existing process creates a “back-door mandate for EVs.” The bill, sponsored by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso, would require the Secretary of Energy to use “more accurate criteria” when calculating the petroleum-equivalent average fuel economy for EVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses the data to set Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for automakers. “The REVEAL Act would prevent the Secretary of Energy from using these faulty calculations to prohibit the sale of gas or diesel powered cars or trucks,” Barrasso said in a statement. “This is a needed step to help fight against the Biden administration’s continued manipulation of the auto market and put Americans back in the driver’s seat.” The bill would require the Energy Secretary to ensure the weight and class of EVs are directly comparable to gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles when calculating the fuel economy standards for EVs. The measure also requires the official to consider the need to conserve critical minerals used to manufacture batteries and EVs while taking into account the impact of extreme temperatures and battery degradation on battery efficiency. The bill also calls for the Transportation Secretary to ensure that these methods are incorporated in any proposed or amended CAFE standards. BIDEN RAMPS UP SECONDARY SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA: The Treasury announced new secondary sanctions on Russia this morning, applying to 4,500 entities and third countries that supply Russia with technology or supplies restricted by the U.S, Breanne reports. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that the new sanctions strike at Russia’s “remaining avenues for international materials and equipment, including their reliance on critical supplies from third countries.” Of particular note, the new actions will impose restrictions on entities in China, which has fostered closer business ties with Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. The administration is also ramping up its efforts to prevent Russia from building out LNG export capacity, which it needs to replace lost revenues from piped gas exports. New sanctions apply to three entities involved in either the construction of LNG-related projects or the manufacturing of specialized equipment for LNG transportation, officials said, as well as the identification of seven under-construction LNG vessels. IEA FORECASTS OIL GLUT THIS DECADE: The International Energy Agency predicted in its annual medium-term market report that the oil market will see significant oversupply by the end of the decade as production ramps up and economies transition away from fossil fuels. The report lays out expectations for “levels of spare capacity never seen before other than at the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.” That could send prices much lower. The group’s executive director, Fatih Birol, said in a statement that “oil companies may want to make sure their business strategies and plans are prepared for the changes taking place.” The specifics: The report forecasts that global oil demand will rise from 102 million barrels per day in 2023 to near 106 million bpd by the end of the decade. Total supply capacity is forecast to rise to nearly 114 million bpd by 2030. RUNDOWN Canary Media Minnesota takes rare step to allow power lines alongside highways Bloomberg The World Needs More Batteries — But Not This Many E&E News Senate GOP farm bill plan targets climate money

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