Energy & Environment — Granholm to meet with oil executives


Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will meet with oil executives. And the Supreme Court rejected an effort to throw out a lawsuit over Roundup weedkiller.

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Energy CEOs to meet with Granholm on Thursday

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is slated to meet with oil executives on Thursday, the White House said, as the administration seeks solutions to lowering sky-high gas prices.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed plans for the meeting in a briefing on Tuesday, saying it would include all seven executives that President Biden sent letters to last week urging them to boost the supply of gasoline and diesel.

  • “Our goal is to make sure that we have a sit-down conversation where we come up with solutions, that we work with the CEOs and figure out what else that we can do to move that capacity forward,” Jean-Pierre said.
  • Biden is not planning on sitting in on the meeting, she said.

The meeting is expected to include executives representing Exxon Mobil, Shell, Valero, Marathon, Phillips 66, BP and Chevron.

Tensions high: Biden wrote a letter to executives at all seven companies last week accusing them of benefiting from the Russian war in Ukraine by keeping the supply of refined products low and absorbing record profits as prices run high.

The president called on the companies to take steps to boost supply in order to bring down the price of gasoline, which is averaging around $5 per gallon nationally.

Chevron hits back: “Chevron and its 37,000 employees work every day to help provide the world with the energy it demands and to lift up the lives of billions of people who rely on these supplies,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth wrote in a letter to Biden on Tuesday.

“Notwith these efforts, your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”

Wirth wrote that the company is seeking more support from the Biden administration, including “clarity and consistency” on federal leases and permits, and called for a “honest dialogue” on balancing energy, economic and environmental priorities. Wirth said he was looking forward to the meeting with Granholm.

Read more here from The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant.

Supreme Court rejects bid to toss Roundup suit

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Bayer that sought to throw a “bellwether” lawsuit out alleging that its Roundup weed killer is carcinogenic.

  • The decision means a judgment ordering the company to pay $25 million to California resident Edwin Hardeman will remain in place.
  • Hardeman’s lawsuit claimed his use of Roundup led him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In May, a San Francisco federal appeals court agreed with a trial verdict finding Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018, did not adequately warn consumers about the cancer risk connected to the product.

In that ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals described Hardeman’s case as a “bellwether” that could clear the way thousands of similar lawsuits.

Monsanto appealed the decision to the high court, arguing that an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finding that the product was safe superseded California’s failure-to-warn-law, the basis for the ruling.

  • In 2020, the Trump administration reapproved glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, saying that “there was insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate plays a role in any human diseases.”
  • However, last week, a judge ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revisit its finding that the chemical doesn’t present unreasonable risks.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer defines glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.

Bayer, meanwhile, expressed disappointment in a statement on Tuesday.

“The company believes that the decision decides the ability of companies to rely on official actions taken by expert regulatory agencies, as it permits every US state to require a different product label,” a Bayer spokesman said.

“While this decision brings an end to the Hardeman case, there are likely to be future cases, including Roundup cases, that present the US Supreme Court with preemption questions like Hardeman and could also create a Circuit split.”

Read more about the case here.

LET’S TALK MONEY

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday advanced bills to fund the Interior Department, EPA and Energy Department.

The top lines, per the draft bill:

  • An approximately 21 percent increase in the EPA’s budget
  • An approximately 14 percent increase in the Interior Department’s discretionary budget
  • An approximately 7 percent increase in the Energy Department’s budget

Reminder: This may not be the final funding bill, as Senate appropriators also create their own version.

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • EPA chemicals official Michal Freedhoff will testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about implementation of amendments to the Toxic Substance Control Act
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on legislation focused around energy infrastructure, efficiency and financing
  • The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “the nature of matter, energy, space, and time.” DOE science official Asmeret Berhe will testify .

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Canada banning single-use plastics to combat pollution, climate change (The Washington Post)
  • Russia leapfrogs Saudi Arabia as China’s biggest oil supplier—with some help from massive discounts (Yahoo)
  • Solar-Power Developers Pledge to Buy US Panels—If Someone Makes Them (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Colorado has been spreading biosolids with “forever chemicals” on farms, records show. How dangerous is it? (The Colorado Sun)
  • Will EPA use special power to prod Trump holdovers on climate? (E&E News)

And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: An awww-mbush

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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