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“Everything’s on the Table” in Energy Talks

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV), is discussing ways to meet the world’s energy needs while creating a path to emission reductions, according to POLITICO Pro’s E&E Daily (subscription). The talks seem to be motivated partly by the success of last year’s infrastructure bill.

Exploring all possibilities: Following a meeting Monday night, “‘Everything’s on the table; we’re talking about everything,’ Manchin told reporters … ‘It’s just so great that we have got Republicans and Democrats and everybody sharing their ideas back and forth.’”

  • Said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), “We are looking at a lot of ideas, like where are we going to get our minerals, how are we going to get them processed, the [National Environmental Policy Act] review process as you think about building renewable facilities and the challenges we face.”
  • Sen. Manchin stressed the importance of both improving energy reliability and increasing domestic sourcing of critical minerals.

Global scope: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said after the gathering that the “current system” gives countries like China and India financial reason to disregard emissions standards, but implementing an import tariff on goods produced by high emitters would help remedy the situation.

  • These countries “can produce goods cheaper by not paying attention,” he told the press. “But if we had a border carbon adjustment, it would help our workers and our industry and incentivize [those nations] to do it right.”

Next steps: The same group is scheduled to meet again today.

The NAM says: “Partisan politics is the fastest way to stop real climate progress. Tackling climate change is too important and too big of a global challenge to solve through anything other than collaboration, innovation and compromise,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones. “So manufacturers are encouraged to see serious, bipartisan policy discussions around climate policy and energy security.”

  • “Energy transitions can also mean geopolitical shifts. Because the U.S. is the world’s leader in oil and gas production today, we have been able to support our allies in Europe while maintaining our own energy security. That is a lesson we have a chance to learn now.”
  • “We need to ensure that our climate strategies and energy policy set us up to be even stronger over the coming decades. Manufacturers in the U.S. continue to face monumental supply chain challenges—ones that could get even worse if we don’t take smart steps to diversify our critical minerals mining and processing.”
  • “Permitting is also a key area where the U.S. lags behind and must be modernized to give manufacturers a fair shot at global competitiveness. While these discussions are admittedly nascent, they are a breath of fresh air and perhaps our best hope of real climate leadership in a dysfunctional Washington.”
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