Energy briefs

** A union that represents Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees issued its first political endorsement Tuesday: Supporting President Biden’s reelection. The union, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 238, represents 8,000 EPA employees, including engineers, lawyers and inspectors.

** Leaders of five national environmental organizations criticized New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) controversial decision to delay congestion pricing for drivers entering Manhattan and requested a meeting with the governor in a joint letter Tuesday.

** A coalition of environmental, labor and health care groups called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to classify extreme heat and wildfire smoke as “major disasters” to unlock federal funding for states during these weather events.

** The Treasury Department on Tuesday announced final rules for prevailing wage and registered apprenticeships (PWA) under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), saying that qualifying employers in the renewable energy sector will be eligible for a fivefold increase in the available tax credit.

** ​Marathon Petroleum hired FTI Government Affairs to lobby on issues related to corporate taxation and energy. ​Mickeala Carter, a U.S. Department of Agriculture and House Agriculture Committee alum, will work on the account.

** Legacy U.S. automakers such as Ford Motor and General Motors should leave the China market to preserve capital amid the costly electric vehicle (EV) transition, a leading auto analyst said on Tuesday.

** The Oracle of Omaha has set his sights on the oil industry. Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company helmed by investing titan Warren Buffett, has upped its stake in Houston-based Occidental Petroleum, buying up shares over the past nine trading days to bring its holdings to almost 29% of the firm, according to SEC filings.


** Ukraine has been systematically targeting Russian energy infrastructure to try to disrupt Russia’s economy and its ability to fund its military effort. Ukrainian officials say attacks have been carried out in retaliation for Russian strikes on the Ukrainian energy system.

** Denmark is planning to target the infamous shadow fleet of tankers carrying sanctioned Russian oil through the Baltic Sea and Danish Straits, its Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said today (17 June). The Nordic country is holding talks with other Baltic Sea states and EU members about how to impede Russia’s sanctions-dodging fleet, which is said to number around 1,400 vessels, including 435 tankers.

** The Philippines is engaged in a major buildout of natural gas power at a time when scientists say the world needs to urgently phase out fossil fuel use because of climate change. Analysts say Filipinos will likely pay more for their electricity and that additional future needs could have been met with clean renewables. An Associated Press investigation found that a major cheerleader for natural gas, Gov. Hermilando Mandanas of Batangas province, stood to benefit from the buildout.