** House Republicans are launching an investigation into the Department of Transportation’s response to the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, accusing Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg of being too slow to get involved.
** Multiple energy experts blasted Vice President Kamala Harris after she claimed that the Biden administration has successfully reduced home heating and electricity prices. Experts said the comments were inaccurate and noted that utility prices for most Americans have increased since President Biden and Harris took office in January 2021. They also slammed Harris for being “completely out of touch” and appearing to mislead Americans on the administration’s track record.
** Turns out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was wrong about disparities among construction workers, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). The center notes in a new article on its website that immigrants — both legal and illegal — are significantly overrepresented in construction, while U.S.-born, non-Hispanic Whites are underrepresented, citing an analysis of the government’s 2021 American Community Survey.
** US natural gas futures have fallen to levels not seen since pandemic-era lockdowns more than two years ago that strangled the economic activity underpinning energy demand. The combination of weaker-than-anticipated winter heating demand in the world’s biggest economy and a freak industrial outage that buried the domestic gas market in excess supplies has gutted prices for the furnace and power-plant fuel.
** The crew of the freight train carrying dangerous chemicals that derailed in Ohio earlier this month received a warning about an overheating wheel bearing and tried to slow the train before it came off the tracks, according to an interim report released on Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
** President Joe Biden’s administration announced it will select 11 organizations across the United States to administer $550 million in grants to disadvantaged communities for reducing legacy pollution and gaining access to clean energy.
** The National Congress of American Indians called for a moratorium on offshore wind development along US coasts, insisting the Biden administration do a better job protecting tribal interests.
** U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen said on Friday that she expects that future limited free trade agreements focused on battery minerals with the European Union and other trusted allies would not need approval from Congress.
** Unipec, the largest oil trader in China and the trading unit of state-held refiner Sinopec, and PetroChina, the largest oil and gas producer and distributor in China, have both hired ten supertankers in March to haul US crude back to Asia.
** The West-led sanctions on Russia’s oil trade following the Ukraine invasion benefited India the most. In less than a year, the country has saved an estimated $4 billion (30,000 crore rupees) by importing Russian crude oil.
** BASF SE plans to cut 2,600 jobs and reduce production in Germany as Europe’s biggest chemical producer braces itself for a future without cheap Russian gas.