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OpenMarket: Ben Lieberman

  • Air Conditioning Can Help Fight COVID-19—If Federal Policy Allows It To

    July 2, 2020
    COVID-19 persists into the time of year when most Americans rely on air conditioning, so many are asking whether cranking up the cold air helps or hurts in the fight against spreading the virus. The answer is that air conditioning can provide substantial protection from coronavirus, but we need to make sure that the federal government’s pursuit of energy efficiency and climate change policy is not an impediment.
  • Tax Breaks for Wind and Solar—Bad Energy Policy, Bad Post-Coronavirus Recovery Policy

    June 26, 2020
    The House of Representatives’ $1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure package is being sold to the public as a post-coronavirus job creation bill. It now includes the sweeping renewable energy subsidies, including measures extending the investment tax credits for wind and solar energy. This is both bad energy policy and bad jobs policy.
  • Supreme Court Decision Big Win for Energy—and America

    June 15, 2020
    Today the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision allowing the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile project bringing natural gas produced in West Virginia eastward into Virginia and North Carolina. The case represents a big win for energy dominance, jobs, affordable energy, and most importantly the rule of law.
  • Trump Executive Order to Expedite Project Approvals

    June 5, 2020
    President Trump on June 4 issued an Executive Order intended to expedite the federal approval process for major infrastructure projects. “Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities” seeks to put people back to work by getting transportation, energy, and other big construction projects underway as quickly as possible.
  • EPA Finalizes Rule Limiting State Abuses of Clean Water Act to Block Fossil Energy Projects

    June 1, 2020
    On June 1, the EPA issued a final rule clarifying that the Clean Water Act cannot be used by states to block energy projects based on climate or any other grounds unrelated to water quality. This rule should help remove roadblocks to many such projects that both create jobs and keep energy affordable for homes and businesses.
  • EPA Removes One Hurdle to Alaska’s Pebble Mine, but Others Remain

    June 1, 2020
    On May 28, the EPA notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it will not challenge its ongoing review of the Pebble Mine in Alaska at this time. Thus, the Army Corps can continue reviewing the project’s Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EIS review and subsequent final decision on the mine permit are expected by the end of the year.
  • IRS Relaxes Requirements for Renewable Energy Tax Credits—Coronavirus Edition

    May 29, 2020
    On May 27, the IRS issued a notice expanding the tax relief for renewable energy developers seeking to qualify for tax credits. Ironically, this announcement comes as the Energy Information Administration announced that renewables have surpassed coal as an electricity source in the U.S. This undercuts a key rationale for the renewable tax credits, which is that renewables they are an infant industry.
  • Wood Heaters—One Cheer for Trump EPA’s Modest Regulatory Reform

    May 19, 2020
    The Trump administration’s reforms of past regulatory excesses range from excellent to little better than no change at all. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent coronavirus-inspired modification to wood heater regulations is definitely an example of the latter.
  • Are "Earth-Friendly" New Refrigerants Toxic?

    May 15, 2020
    Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to restrict hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the refrigerants currently used in most air conditioning and refrigeration systems. But now, one of the leading substitutes for HFCs has been identified as a potential toxin.
  • Senate Bill Introduced to Extend Alternative Fuels Tax Credit

    May 15, 2020
    Sens. Lamar Alexander and Tom Carper have introduced Securing America’s Clean Fuels Infrastructure Act, extending and increasing the tax credits for alternative transportation fuels. It is hard to imagine circumstances where this bill is needed any less. Both conventional gasoline and diesel fuel prices are very cheap by historical standards. Prices are unlikely to appreciably rise any time soon.

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