In trying to balance the competing interests of oil companies and biofuel producers, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed renewable fuel quotas for 2014, 2015 and 2016 have pleased almost no one.
So far, most of the congressional debate on crude exports has focused on the economics of the issue, but former Amb. Carlos Pascual’s comments amplify geopolitical concerns with the longstanding trade restrictions for oil.
Oil processed in distillation towers is broadly okay for export, according to the new guidance document from the Commerce Department. But oils that are simply run through heater treaters are still ensnared by the 39-year-old ban on crude exports.
It will take a “train wreck” of falling prices, declining oil production and idle drilling rigs before the United States lifts its longstanding ban on exporting crude, Rice University economist Kenneth Medlock predicted Wednesday.
Responding to criticism from energy companies and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the Energy Department on Thursday proposed dramatically changing the way it is reviewing proposals to widely export natural gas. The plan would effectively move more commercially advanced projects to the front of the line.
The State Department on Friday said the Keystone XL pipeline is unlikely to dramatically boost demand for Canada’s oil sands, delivering a verdict that angered environmentalists even as it gave President Barack Obama the evidence he needs to approve the controversial project.
With the Obama administration on Wednesday approving a fourth company’s plans to sell natural gas overseas, some lawmakers and manufacturers said it’s time for the federal government to reassess the economic risks of those export approvals.
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