The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Modernizing the electric grid and the emergency petroleum reserve were the cornerstones of a bill unveiled by leaders of the Senate energy committee on Wednesday, showing cross-party consensus on some issues, but the lawmakers failed to agree on whether to repeal the ban on U.S. oil exports.

The Energy Policy Modernization Act marks a moment of limited agreement between Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State, the leaders on the Senate energy committee.

The two sides agreed to require the Department of Energy to notify Congress before any test sale from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which last occurred in 2014. The bill also instructs the DOE to conduct a review of the reserve, which holds nearly 700 million barrels of oil, and to develop proposals to improve its configuration and performance.

Aides to the senators told reporters the bill shows there is “zero daylight” between Murkowski and Cantwell in their belief that any sales from the reserve should be used only to bolster domestic energy security.

That stands in contrast to other bills in Congress: one would sell down the reserve to fund highway maintenance, while another would use revenues to pay for a program to speed drugs to market.

But the energy committee senators remain divided on whether to repeal the 40-year-old oil export ban, a trade restriction that crude producers say could eventually curtail the domestic drilling boom.

Murkowski introduced a bill to ax the ban this spring, which counted 14 co-sponsors in the 100-member chamber.

But an aide said Cantwell does not want the ban lifted until there is more evidence that it would not raise gasoline prices in the Pacific Northwest. Cantwell also wants to ensure that lifting the ban would not significantly raise the amount of crude that would be shipped by rail in the region.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Photo: A coal power plant in New Mexico (Glennia via Flickr)


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Ted Budd, left, and Cheri Beasley

On Tuesday, North Carolina Republicans selected Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), a far-right extremist who has pushed false claims about the 2020 election, to be their Senate nominee. He will face Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the state's Supreme Court.

As of Wednesday morning, Budd had received more than 58 percent of the GOP primary vote. Former Gov. Pat McCrory received just below 25 percent of the vote, while former Rep. Mark Walker received about nine percent of the vote.

Keep reading... Show less

Stephen Colbert

It seems we can't go even a week in America without some deranged white nationalist shooter taking the lives of decent people. Of course, this type of violence is propagated on a daily basis by the far-right sh*tweasals at Fox News and, worse yet, in the ranks of the Republican Party.

After returning to the Late Show helm, Stephen Colbert weighed in on the real culprit behind the mass shootings -- the Replacement Theory popularized by Tucker Carlson.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}