Biden to declare climate emergency? Ban offshore drilling?

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Guest “Just when you thought he couldn’t get any dumber” by David Middleton

Note: I wrote most of this post this morning before Biden delivered his climate emergency remarks in Massachusetts. The final section was written as the remarks were being mumbled and whispered.

What it would mean for Biden to declare a national climate emergency
Ben Adler
Senior Editor
Tue, July 19, 2022

In the wake of Sen. Joe Manchin’s announcement that he won’t vote for a bill addressing climate change unless inflation slows next month, climate leaders are calling for President Biden to declare climate change a national emergency — and it appears that the White House is seriously considering the move.

A formal declaration would open up new possibilities for unilateral action by the executive branch to combat climate change, including halting U.S. exports of crude oil and halting offshore drilling. Biden could even redirect military funding to the construction of renewable energy projects — much as former President Donald Trump diverted more than $18 billion in Pentagon funding to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico — and impose trade penalties on countries that permit deforestation, such as the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

[…]

Yahoo! News

As a petroleum geologist, who has worked the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico since 1988, this bit caught my eye…

A formal declaration would open up new possibilities for unilateral action by the executive branch to combat climate change, including… halting offshore drilling.

Most US offshore drilling takes place in the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling occurs on things called “leases.” Leases are legally binding contracts. Oil companies purchased the rights to explore for, drill and produce oil and gas from these leases. They purchased those rights from the Federal government. A government that, when it is abiding by its own laws, is required to permit the exploration, drilling and production of oil and gas from those leases. If the Federal government was to arbitrarily and capriciously halt drilling on those leases (because climate change), it would trigger a violation of the “takings clause” hitherto undreamt of…

How would an offshore drilling ban violate the takings clause?

Obama’s unlawful drilling moratorium in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (AKA Macondo) blowout and oil spill was probably a violation of the takings clause…

Certainly, quick government action was required to stop and then clean up the leaking oil and to punish those who caused the spill. But the broad and dramatic oil-drilling moratorium, and its subsequent detrimental impact on the oil industry in the Gulf, illustrates the dangerous potential of reactive government regulation that forces innocent parties to bear a burden more rightly placed on others. Protection against this threat can be found in the takings clause of the United States Constitution. Accordingly, this note will focus on a takings claim that was briefly mentioned but never fully argued or ruled on in Hornbeck30 to show that such a claim should provide a valid recourse for future oil industry plaintiffs affected by federal regulations in response to oil spills. Moratoria impose uniquely detrimental burdens on service industry entities that rely on property interests with a definite life span. Incorporating these burdens into a traditional takings analysis will deter the federal government from passing moratoria that are too rash or broad. At a minimum, such an application would provide a compensation mechanism to those who suffer as a result of moratoria that are necessary but nonetheless detrimental. Accordingly, a court applying a takings analysis to a factual situation similar to the events that unfolded in Hornbeck should find that a taking occurred and that compensation must be paid ⎯ despite an unwillingness to come to such a holding in the past.

Thrasher, 2012

If a broad drilling moratorium in response to a transient event (controlling an oil spill) is a violation of the takings clause, a broad drilling moratorium in response to a perpetual condition (climate change) would be a violation of the “takings clause” hitherto undreamt of… Yes, I did seriously say “hitherto undreamt of”… I actually said, well wrote, it twice.

What do journalists and politicians mean when they say “drilling”?

I have no idea what they mean because, as it pertains to the oil & gas industry, they never have slightest fracking knowledge of the subject matter. In much the same manner that they conflate “frac’ing” with drilling & production and use the words “permits” and “leases” interchangeably, they will refer to “drilling” when they are actually talking about permits, leases and/or production.

Would such an Executive Order force oil companies to shut in existing production and plug and abandon all existing wells and production facilities? Would it force the temporary abandonment of wells that are currently drilling, as Obama’s moratorium did? Would it revoke all existing drilling permits? Or would it just permanently halt the approval of any new drilling permits? When the Idiot-in-Chief was campaigning from his basement, he did promise to halt offshore drilling. The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) took that to mean that no more drilling permits would be approved. This policy would have been disastrous when crude oil was ~$40/bbl. Imagine how disastrous it would be in the current price environment?

Impact of No New Drilling Permits Being Issued

Another potential restrictive policy change that has been advanced for the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and natural gas industry is that regulatory authorities no longer issue new drilling permits for Gulf of Mexico wells. This scenario assumes that no new drilling permits would be issued from 2022, but that existing permits would be unaffected, and that no other major policy or regulatory changes impacting the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and natural gas industry would be enacted.

▪ Average combined oil and natural gas production across the forecast period is projected to decline from around 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day to 1.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (an over 55 percent decline). In 2040, combined oil and natural gas production is projected to be around 323 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day compared to 1.96 million barrels in the Base Case.

▪ Average annual employment supported is projected to decline to 179 thousand jobs from around 370 thousand jobs nationally (a 52 percent decline).

▪ Average annual contributions to GDP are projected at $14.2 billion, around a 55 percent reduction compared to contributions of $31.3 billion in the Base Case.

▪ Government revenues are projected at an average of around $2.7 billion per year, a 61 percent reduction from the $7 billion per year projected in the Base Case.

▪ State revenue sharing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMES) is projected to fall to an average of around $273 million per year, compared to around $374 million in the Base Case (a 27 percent reduction). LWCF funding, including GOMESA and non-GOMESA offshore funding is project to fall to just under $585 million a year compared to $1.3 in the Base Case.

NOIA

The Gulf of Mexico is the second most prolific oil producing region in these somewhat United States of America.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, November 2019

A ban on “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters” would quickly be devastating to production.

A Biden ban on “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters” would cut GOM oil production in half by 2028 and by nearly 80% by 2040. (NOIA)

On top of the reckless destruction of value, a ban on “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters” would also drive many, if not most, operators into bankruptcy, leaving them financially incapable of properly abandoning and retiring billions of dollars worth of infrastructure that was just rendered worthless by government malfeasance. We would see force majeure declarations also hitherto undreamt of.

On top of that, it would be monumentally stupid.

“The fist bump, seen around the world, will live in infamy”

I can’t believe I’m quoting “Democracy Now!“…

SARAH LEAH WHITSON: I mean, I would have to agree with The Washington Post. The fist bump, seen around the world, will live in infamy, will become the legacy of President Biden as a man who broke his promises, and broke them in such a disgraceful manner, bumping fists with the man he promised to the American people he would make a pariah. That is one hell of a way to be remembered.

Democracy Now!

How bad was Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia? So bad, it p!$$ed off the entire political spectrum…

Don’t Call Biden’s Saudi Trip a Failure: It Was Much Worse Than That
The inept president did active damage to U.S./Saudi relations at the worst possible moment

David Blackmon
Jul 19

History is filled with moments in time whose events reverberate for decades to come. That is as true in world of oil and energy as it is in any other aspect of our lives.

[…]

A third example: Over the past weekend, visibly declining president Joe Biden shuffled out of his limousine in Saudi Arabia on an ill-defined mission that his handlers claimed was aimed to “reset” U.S. relations with a Kingdom he promised in 2020 to brand a “pariah” among nations. After ignoring 70+ years of diplomatic protocols by refusing to shake hands with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – offering up a silly “fist bump” instead – Biden and his handlers and advisors then held what were billed as “bilateral discussions” with the Prince and the Saudi delegation.

As of this writing three days later, the world still has no clear understanding about what was actually said in those discussions. That’s because the U.S. president – who has a very long history of making up legends about things that never happened – has been telling the press a completely different story than the Prince and his advisors have been telling.

[…]

In the wake of the COVID pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine, global oil trading relationships are being inexorably reorganized, and the Biden administration’s oafishness threatens to ‘reorganize’ Saudi Arabia completely away from the United States.

While the U.S. media has focused on the failure by Biden to gain a commitment from the Kingdom to significantly increase its oil production level, that failure is really the least of our worries in the wake of this poorly-planned-and-executed trip. The President did active and significant damage to the relationship with a country that has been one of America’s most important cooperating partners in this highly-strategic region of the world.

It was a woefully missed opportunity to work to heal past wounds that could well have tragic ramifications for years to come. In a word, it was a disaster.

That is all.

Energy Transition Absurdities

“Imagine if you will”, a US president so inept that he does every thing he can to disrupt domestic oil production and then accuses the oil companies of holding back production… Then goes to Saudi Arabia, fist bumps someone he calls a murderer, begs their national oil company to produce more oil and then lies to the American public about MBS agreeing to produce more oil… Then refloats the rumor that he’s about to shut down the second most prolific oil producing region in the nation.

Biden Expects More Saudi Oil After Trip to Kingdom
•Saudis committed to balancing global oil market: White House
•US sees ‘further steps in the coming weeks’ on oil supply

By Grant Smith, Justin Sink, and Salma El Wardany
July 15, 2022

[…]

“I’m doing all I can to increase the supply for the United States of America, which I expect to happen,” Biden told reporters. “The Saudis share that urgency. And based on our discussions today, I expect we’ll see further steps in the coming weeks.”

[…]

Bloomberg

BRENT Analysis: Saudi Arabia Rejects Biden Request, Eyes on Nord Stream
Aziz Kenjaev
Mon, July 18

Saudi Arabia held on their ground and refused Biden’s concert to increase oil production by keeping their commitment to stick to the OPEC+ production plan.

The turn down of Biden’s request helped Brent crude prices to close above $100 on the last day of last week’s session. Uncertainty regarding China’s demand recovery holds oil prices from its impulsive uptrend continuation.

[…]

Yahoo! News

Rod Serling couldn’t even imagine if you will… A US president, whose climate agenda has been blocked by both the Senate and the Supreme Court, considering unilaterally destroying the US energy industry… because climate change… Right after begging the Saudis to increase oil production…

“Science fiction makes the implausible possible, while science fantasy makes the impossible plausible.”

Rod Serling

imgflp

More climate emergency follies

“It’s about time this president… call this crisis what it is: an emergency”

What happens if Biden declares a climate emergency?
By Kelsey Brugger, Nick Sobczyk, Robin Bravender | 07/19/2022

The White House could soon declare a climate emergency to give President Joe Biden more power to act without Congress’ help.

When negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) over climate and energy legislation collapsed, Biden pledged to use his executive authority to take action. Declaring an emergency could help him move even more aggressively on that front.

Biden was considering making such an announcement as early as this week, The Washington Post reported last night, citing people familiar with the matter. Biden is slated to travel to Somerset, Mass., tomorrow to “deliver remarks on tackling the climate crisis and seizing the opportunity of a clean energy future to create jobs and lower costs for families,” the White House announced today.

[…]

The move would be a victory for young progressives with the Sunrise Movement, who had pushed candidate Biden to add such a declaration to his platform.

“It’s about time this president and his administration call this crisis what it is: an emergency,” said John Paul Mejia, the group’s spokesperson, adding, “Of course, there is worry that it’s all bark and no bite. But social movements and allies across the country won’t let this just be rhetoric.”

More muscle on climate

Environmental law experts and Democratic lawmakers note that declaring a climate emergency would give Biden a range of expanded policy options to choose from.

Dan Farber, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, laid out some of Biden’s options in a post from 2019.

The president can suspend oil leases during national emergencies, and Biden could respond to industrial shortfalls by supporting the expansion of batteries for electric vehicles, Farber wrote. The Transportation secretary could potentially use the power to “coordinate transportation” during national emergencies to limit auto emissions, Farber added.

[…]

Some of the options available to Biden could conflict with the administration’s energy policies — particularly as the White House scrambles to ease gas prices. A move to suspend oil leases, for example, would conflict with Biden’s push for Congress to boost domestic oil production on public lands by forcing companies to use or lose their federal drilling rights (Greenwire, May 12).

“Clearly, some of the key levers run directly counter to the current energy crisis, which is deeply ironic,” said Michael Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School. “If we had more wind and solar and electric vehicles, we wouldn’t need nearly as much oil,” he said.

[…]

E&E News Greenwire

Yes, you did read this correctly…

“If we had more wind and solar and electric vehicles, we wouldn’t need nearly as much oil…”

Michael Gerrard, a professor at Columbia Law School

Just when he had the Enviromarxists salivating like Pavlovian dogs…

“This climate emergency is not going to happen tomorrow…”

Biden to discuss climate ’emergency’ without declaring one
By Robin Bravender, Nick Sobczyk | 07/20/2022

President Joe Biden thinks climate change is an emergency, one of his top advisers said today. But he isn’t ready to make it official.

[…]

“The president is going to make it clear that climate change is an emergency,” White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy told NPR’s “Morning Edition” today as she previewed Biden’s speech. “He’s going to use all the powers available to him. And we’re going to make our climate goals. You know, there is just no choice.”

[…]

“This climate emergency is not going to happen tomorrow,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said yesterday. But “we still have it on the table,” she added.

[…]

Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat who also signed the letter, said it’s important that the administration ensure that its moves will hold up in court.

[…]

E&E News Greenwire

“Climate change… I think jobs”

Yes, we have no emergency declarations today…

Nothing but barely coherent babble, whispering and reminiscences of Scranton.

It will be interesting to see how they clean this up in the official transcript:

…”My mother drove us, and rather than us be able to walk, and guess what? The first frost, you know what was happening, you had to put on your windshield wipers to get literally the oil slick off the window. That’s why I, and so damned many other people I grew up with, have cancer; and why can’t for the longest time, Delaware had the highest cancer rate in the nation.”…

The Last Refuge

Biden’s CO2 spewing trip to Massachusetts to not declare a climate emergency was hilarious on many levels. Perhaps the most ironic is the fact that he was speaking from the location of what was once the largest coal-fired power plant in New England. The Brayton Point Power Station had a nameplate capacity of 1,537MW and was capable of delivering nearly full capacity 24/7/365. The power plant was shut down in 2017. The site was purchased by Prysmian Group, which will build an undersea cable factory to connect the 1,232MW Commonwealth Wind project to the grid. Commonwealth Wind will be capable of delivering full capacity 30-40% of the time, depending on wind conditions… And they actually are pitching this as wind replacing coal.

BRAYTON POINT & PRYSMIAN GROUP

Replacing Coal-Fired Power With U.S. Manufacturing
As part of the Commonwealth Wind bid, Avangrid Renewables partnered with the Prysmian Group to enable this leading offshore wind cable company to locate a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Brayton Point, the site of the former coal-fired power plant in Somerset. Prysmian will create approximately 200 long-term manufacturing jobs. Once completed, it will be the first U.S.-based offshore wind supplier located in New England.

Avangrid Renewables spearheaded the deal to bring Prysmian to the United States. Prysmian is currently providing subsea transmission cables for Vineyard Wind 1 and the U.S. facility will provide subsea transmission cables for both Commonwealth Wind and Park City Wind.

Commonwealth Wind

Making America Last Already… MALA

It took less than two years to go from American Energy Dominance to American Energy Impotence.

References

Energy & Industrial Advisory Partners, Houston, TX, 2020, The Economic Impacts of the Gulf of Mexico Oil and Natural Gas Industry. Prepared for the National Offshore Industries Association.

Thrasher, Edward W., Cleaning Up the Muck: A Takings Analysis of the Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Following the BP Oil Spill, 77 Brook. L. Rev. (2012).
Available at: https://brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/blr/vol77/iss3/10

via Watts Up With That?

July 20, 2022