Energy and Environment — Granholm: Biden would veto the House SPR bill


House Republicans are preparing to vote on a bill that limits purchases of strategic petroleum reserves. Meanwhile, a new study outlines the way forward for Puerto Rican renewables, and a report puts a price on the Biden administration’s wind energy goals.

This is Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news on energy, the environment and more. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Has anyone forwarded this newsletter?

House votes in favor of bill restricting SPR purchases

The House is expected to vote this week on legislation that would limit the purchase of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the country’s emergency oil reserve.

Republicans pushed back last year on the Biden administration’s largest-ever release of SPR barrels as part of an effort to lower gasoline prices after Russia invaded Ukraine.

  • The bill, except in emergencies, would require the federal government to develop a plan to increase the percentage of federal lands leased for new oil and gas production to move oil from the strategic reserve.
  • A schedule released by the office of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) indicated that the bill, known as H.R. 21, would be taken up later in the week.

The background: The Russian invasion caused gasoline prices to rise. In an effort to counter this, the Biden administration said it would release 1 million barrels per day for the next six months, resulting in a total release of about 180 million barrels. The SPR can hold up to 714 million barrels.

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Admin pushes back on the new invoice: Meanwhile, the Biden administration argues the move would raise gasoline prices.

  • Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm also said he would “unnecessarily seek to weaken the utility of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a tool for ensuring America’s energy security.”
  • Granholm added that the bill “risks these gas prices rising and making it more difficult to provide relief to Americans,” and that Biden would veto the bill coming to his desk.

The defense: In response to similar criticism of the bill last week, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement that the bill would have “absolutely no effect” on emergency authorities, but in instead “the politically-motivated use of the SPR.”

“If the president declares an emergency due to a power disruption, the secretary has full authority to use the SPR — HR 21 will not change or impede that,” she added. “In addition, under this bill, if the president chooses to use the SPR without declaring an emergency — a non-urgent sale — then the Secretary of Energy must create a plan to increase domestic energy production.”

Following Granholm’s comments, the White House Office of Management and Budget issued a formal statement expressing opposition to the bill and affirming that the president would veto it.

Study calls for rooftop solar in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico should install rooftop solar panels at locations such as airports and industrial areas to meet national renewable energy goals, a federal agency said in a study published Monday.

  • Puerto Rico passed legislation in 2019 requiring the island to redesign its power grid after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria, including a requirement to switch to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2050.
  • In early 2022, more than $12 billion in disaster funds were announced for recovery and the redesign. In December, Congress appropriated another
    $1 billion for the power grid, less than both the $3 billion President Biden had asked for and the $5 billion for solar panels a coalition of House Democrats said was needed.
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The details: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s two-year study estimated that there is not enough land available on the island for sufficient wind energy infrastructure to meet the goal and that Puerto Rico would instead need to install solar infrastructure in locations such as brownfields, industrial areas and airports .

The study estimated that Puerto Rico’s transmission system can support projected renewable energy growth over the next five to 15 years, but that further grid improvements will be needed in the longer term, particularly for wind power.

  • The island currently relies heavily on fossil fuels for electricity production, with petroleum products in particular accounting for about 60 percent of its energy consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • Puerto Rico has higher electricity costs than any U.S. state except Hawaii, which the EIA has attributed to its reliance on fossil fuels. The preliminary report estimated that installing new renewables would be more cost-effective than maintaining the existing system and in terms of operating costs, it is already on track to be more cost-effective by 2025.

Researchers ran simulations of future hurricanes and found that it was easier to restore power with more widely distributed infrastructure than with a handful of larger, centralized hubs.

Read more about the research here.

The offshore wind energy supply chain costs $22.4 billion

Meeting President Biden’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 would require rapid scale-up of a domestic supply chain and at least $22.4 billion in infrastructure investment, a new report found.

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The success of such a buildout would depend on “resilient, sustainable and equitable production” from primarily US-based facilities, ports and ships, according to the report released Monday by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other partners.

While the necessary investments would be significant, individual states and companies could leverage existing production capabilities to create new workforces and reap nationwide economic benefits, according to the report released with the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

  • “In more than a dozen locations along the U.S. coast, a supply chain is already emerging to support the offshore wind industry,” Ross Gould, vice president of supply chain development and research at the nonprofit, said in a statement. statement.
  • “To meet our ambitious national clean energy goals, U.S. manufacturers must play a greater role in accelerating our transition,” added Gould.

Read more from The Hill’s Sharon Udasin.


  • Taps in McCarthy’s district are running dry after years of drought. Voters want him to do more (UKTN)
  • EPA takes charge of Alabama landfill fire after finding carcinogens in air samples (
  • Wind turbines taller than the Statue of Liberty toppling (Bloomberg)
  • Impoverished under Trump, a ‘traumatized’ EPA struggles with its mission (The New York Times)

🐕 Lighter click: But can you teach him new tricks?

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.


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