Energy and environment – Schumer eyes ‘NOPEC’ bill after oil cuts

The OPEC production cuts are both renewing interest in a bill that would expose cartel oil companies to lawsuits and prompting a reassessment of U.S.-Saudi relations. Meanwhile, President Biden is expected to designate a new national monument in Colorado next week.

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Schumer considers anti-OPEC bill

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) said Saudi Arabia will end up paying the price for what he called its “deeply cynical action” of backing a $2 million cut barrels of oil supply, which will put more pressure on America. economy.

OPEC+, which is led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, announced this week that it would cut oil production to support lower prices, offsetting President Biden’s decision earlier this year to exploit the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to drive down gas prices in a context of reduced supply due to the war in Ukraine.

“What Saudi Arabia has done to help [Russian President Vladimir] Putin continues to wage his despicable and vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans. We are reviewing all legislative tools to best deal with this appalling and deeply cynical action, including the NOPEC bill,” Schumer said in a statement.

Wait, what is NOPEC? The NOPEC bill, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, would amend U.S. antitrust law to expose OPEC+ member countries and their oil companies to lawsuits.

This would allow the attorney general to prosecute companies such as Saudi Aramco and Russia’s Lukoil in federal court.

OPEC+ has announced plans to cut production despite intense pressure from the Biden administration to keep supply at high capacity.

Read more about Schumer’s statement here, from Alexander Bolton of The Hill.

OPEC MOVEMENT INVITES CALLS TO REEVALUATE US-SAUDI TIES

…speaking of OPEC:

The decision by OPEC+ countries to cut oil production is a black eye in President Biden’s foreign policy after his July visit to Saudi Arabia. It’s also prompting congressional Democrats to rethink the Washington-Riyadh alliance, including on arms and defense technology sales.

Human rights advocates have long criticized what is at times a rocky relationship between the US and Saudi royal families, particularly after the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

  • When Biden met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July, it was seen by many as a necessary evil that could potentially lead to increased OPEC production and lower gas prices. Since Wednesday’s announcement, however, a number of Democratic lawmakers have called on the United States to respond by ending arms sales and military assistance to the kingdom.
  • “From unanswered questions about 9/11 and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, to the conspiracy with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to punish the United States with higher oil prices, the Saudi royal family has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation. It’s time for our foreign policy to imagine a world without their alliance,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, tweeted Thursday.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, called the reduction “a blatant attempt to raise gas prices at the pump” and called for an end to military assistance to Saudi Arabia.

On the House side, Reps. Tom Malinowski (DN.J.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), and Susan Wild (D-Pa.) introduced legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom, calling the reduction of “turning point”. key moment in our relationship with our Gulf partners.

  • Another vocal critic of the Saudis in the House, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California), also called for the nation to be treated “toughly” and an end to arms sales.
  • “The Saudis need us more for weapons than we need them. President Biden should make it clear that we will cut the guns if OPEC+ does not reverse the decision to make drastic production cuts,” Khanna said in a statement to The Hill. “In Congress, we should also explore ways to curb OPEC+ control over global energy prices.”

But, it may not be bipartisan: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a vocal critic of Biden’s energy policies, told The Hill that critics of the Saudi government are “upset because we being consciously made dependent on them, they don’t bend. at our will” despite Biden taking office “promising an adversarial relationship.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the nonprofit Democracy for the Arab World Now, was skeptical the cuts would lead to a lasting schism in the relationship. In an interview with The Hill, Whitson said much of the public anger at Saudi Arabia was likely “performative”, but added that “some of it is real because publicly it’s so humiliating. for Biden.”

Learn more about the situation here.

Biden to designate Camp Hale a national monument

President Biden will designate Camp Hale, an area of ​​Colorado that was used to train soldiers during World War II, as a national monument next week, a source familiar with the move told The Hill on Friday.

The Los Angeles Times first reported that the designation of the national monument, which was to take place next Wednesday, was imminent.

While Biden has expanded boundaries and advanced protections for other monuments during his tenure, the Camp Hale designation will be the first new monument designation of his presidency.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

At Camp Hale, located in the Rocky Mountains, the Army’s 10th Mountain Division learned skiing and mountaineering skills.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is expected to join Biden. Bennet, who is up for re-election this year, wrote a letter to Biden supporting the naming of the monument, along with Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper (D), Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D).

And while senators, alongside some veterans and conservationists, have pushed for the designation, there are also naysayers.

Some Republicans have pushed back on the idea, saying a designation would be a “land grab.”

Learn more about the upcoming designation here.

EPA PROPOSES TO FIND LEADED FUEL A HEALTH THREAT

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed declaring lead in aviation fuel a public health hazard, taking a step toward regulating this type of pollution from aircraft.

  • Lead exposure can cause kidney and brain damage and is especially harmful to children.
  • Lead is used in fuel for piston engine aircraft, which are typically small aircraft that carry between two and 10 people. In 2014, there were about 140,000 in the United States. Commercial aircraft used fuel that does not contain lead.

According to the EPA, the air around some airports contains dangerous levels of lead.

The agency also found that about 5 million people live within 500 meters of an airport runway and 163,000 children attend schools within 500 meters of a runway.

Friday’s proposal is not a regulation of these planes or fuel. Instead, it’s a finding that, if finalized, would put the EPA on a path to regulation, which would require additional steps.

Still, EPA Administrator Michael Regan called the proposal an important step forward as we work to reduce lead exposure and protect children’s health.

Read more about discovery here.

WHAT WE READ

  • ‘Steam loops’ under many cities could be a solution to climate change (NPR)
  • UK risks ending Cop26 presidency amid disarray over Truss climate policy (The Guardian)
  • ‘Don’t eat’: High levels of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in deer and fish (USA Today)
  • Solar and wind farms can harm the environment. New study offers solutions (The Los Angeles Times)

🐦 Lighter Click on: Ian’s Rescued Birds

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy and Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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