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Energy & Environment—Facing high gas prices, Biden relaxes regulation



The Biden administration is allowing gasoline with a higher content of ethanol tobe sold this summer, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has floated a “rebranded”Keystone XL pipeline.

Current regulations prevent the fuel from being sold between June andSeptember due to concerns about its effect on smog and other forms of air pollution.

Advocates have said the regulations in question were written for fuels that are 10percent ethanol rather than the type known as E15, which is 15 percent ethanol.

Administration officials, announcing the decision Monday night, projected it would save the average family 10 cents a gallon, a figure Biden also cited in his remarks Tuesday afternoon.

“Homegrown biofuels have a role to play right now … as we work to get prices under control and reduce the costs for families,” the president said in Iowa onTuesday, during a speech at POET Bioprocessing in Menlo, next to a giant pile of cornmeal.

It all comes back to Russia:

In his remarks, Biden emphasized the role of theRussian invasion of Ukraine in the energy market, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the recent surge in fuel prices.

“I’m doing everything within my power by executive orders to bring down the price and address the Putin price hike,” the president said.

“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” he said, also describing Putin’s actions as “genocide” for the first time.

“The brand of the XL pipeline is probably gone,” Manchin told reporters whenasked about the chances of a revival of the never-completed vessel. “Can it be rebranded, can it be rerouted, can it be these different things?”

He added that it’s not clear whether the Biden administration “is going to entertain that” but added that “they’d be foolish not to.”

What say you, WH?

Asked for comment, a White House spokesperson said that the U.S. is engaging with various oil-producing countries to address the current supply imbalance, but also noted that the Keystone pipeline would not have added to current supply.

During his first day in office, President Biden killed a key border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported Canadian tar sand soil to the U.S. Manchin’s latest comments also follow a Wall Street Journal report that said that the administration was looking for ways to import more Canadian oil afterRussia’s invasion of Ukraine drove up fuel prices.

Republicans, meanwhile, have ramped up their criticisms of the Keystone decision in recent weeks amid the high prices, even though the pipeline was only about 8 percent completed upon its cancellation last year. The company behind the pipeline, TC Energy, said in 2020 that the vessel would not have delivered oil until 2023.

What else did he have to say?

Manchin, in his trip to Alberta, also touted an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

“My definition of all-of-the-above is every that we possibly can, so if you’relooking at wind and solar, geothermal, you’re looking at hydro, you’re looking atfusion in the future, you’re looking at everything that we possibly can do toreduce our carbon — nuclear.”

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