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THE ‘QUID’ AND THE ‘QUO’: After weeks of speculation, nudging from congressional Democrats, and hints from her deputy that such a move was in play, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm came right out and put an end to the oil export ban “rumor” yesterday.

“We are not considering reinstating the ban on exports,” Granholm told a meeting of the National Petroleum Council. “I’ve heard you loud and clear, and so has the White House.”

But the resolution came with a defined expectation that domestic oil and gas firms boost production — an expectation that represents a marked departure by the administration from its philosophy on high prices and prospective solutions going back months.

The average price of gasoline has been falling in recent weeks but remains above $3.31 per gallon this morning. Granholm noted yesterday that consumers are still “hurting at the pump” and, addressing participant firms, said “You clearly have some important tools to alleviate that pain.”

“While I understand that you may disagree with some of our policies, it doesn’t mean that the Biden administration is standing in the way of your efforts to help meet current demand,” she also said, adding, “Please take advantage of the leases that you have. Hire workers, get your rig count up.”

The administration had to this point avoided publicly urging domestic producers to boost production. During a CNN town hall in October, President Joe Biden named the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Saudi Arabia, and OPEC as solutions — but not more domestic drilling.

Moreover, Granholm last month dismissed the notion that more production was a solution to high prices.

Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, said Granholm’s beckoning of producers was the clearest call yet that the administration wants more participation from the industry.

“There was no dancing around whether or not they wanted to see more production,” Book told Jeremy. “She basically said, ‘This is on you. We're giving you the clarity you want. Now, drill.’”

“The ‘quid’ and the ‘quo’ are laid out there pretty straightforward,” he added. “It hard to miss the relationship between what Granholm said about the export ban, and what she asked for from the industry.”

A split with congressional Democrats: Settling against an export ban puts the administration outside of a consensus reached by party lawmakers across the ideological spectrum. Democrats in both chambers wrote letters urging Biden to consider banning exports, and the ranks of signatory lawmakers include liberal heavyweights like Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Katie Porter, as well as relative centrists like Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Abigail Spanberger. 

Further, just last week, Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Nanette Diaz Barragán reintroduced their Future Generations Protection Act that would ban crude oil and natural gas exports and put an end to fracking. That legislation, and the administration’s newest posturing on oil, again expose the difficulties of responding to high prices in the short term while crafting policy in support of the party’s ambitious emissions targets.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writer Jeremy Beaman (@jeremywbeaman). Email jbeaman@washingtonexaminer.com for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS TARGET CARBON CAPTURE CREDIT: Three House Democrats are pushing for repeal of the 45Q carbon sequestration tax credit's enhanced oil recovery benefit, which provides producers a credit if they inject captured carbon dioxide into wells in support of extraction activities.

Rep. Ro Khanna, who chairs the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment, along with Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva and Rep. Mike Quigley, introduced legislation to repeal the credit this week, with hopes of getting their measure into the social and climate spending bill when a Senate-changed version comes back to the chamber for passage.

“The federal government has no place subsidizing carbon positive practices,” Khanna wrote in a tweet yesterday.

The California lawmaker has been especially critical of the carbon capture, utilization, and storage practices, arguing they don’t work and that the government shouldn’t give drillers "welfare" to support fossil fuel production.

NEW YORK TEED UP TO BAN GAS IN NEW BUILDS: The New York City Council is expected to approve a measure today prohibiting the combustion of gas in new buildings.

The council's Committee on Environmental Protection passed the measure yesterday after months of negotiations. The proposal would prohibit gas use in most new buildings under seven stories tall beginning in 2024, while restrictions would apply to large buildings over seven stories beginning in 2027.

A ban would put New York in the company of other cities across the nation that have moved to place restrictions on gas use in buildings in order to cut emissions, including Eugene, Oregon; Denver; and Ithaca.

FLARING DOWN IN KEY SHALE PLAYS FOR Q3: Total U.S. gas flaring fell during the third quarter, with the Permian and Bakken driving the reductions, according to a new report from Rystad Energy.

September saw a month-over-month 24% drop in flaring activity when a record low 380-390 million cubic feet of gas per day was flared, the report found. The Bakken and Permian were each responsible for around a 50 million cubic feet per day reduction in the same month.

Addressing flaring, or the burning off of excess natural gas, remains “low-hanging fruit” for achieving emissions reductions. ExxonMobil recently committed to end routine flaring by 2022 throughout its Permian Basin operations.

EDF SURVEYS PERMIAN’S METHANE LEAKS: A new survey of oil and gas operations in the Permian found that 40% of the basin’s more than 900 sites emitted “significant” plumes of methane.

Researchers with the Environmental Defense Fund utilized a helicopter and an infrared camera to track down the sites, finding that some 30% of pipelines surveyed had detectable emissions.

Jon Goldstein, EDF senior director of regulatory and legislative affairs, said the findings serve the case that EPA must strengthen methane regulations “if we’re going to have a shot at achieving our climate goals and protecting communities from air pollution.”

EPA EXTENDS METHANE RULE COMMENT PERIOD: The EPA is giving the public more time to chime in on its proposal to crack down on methane and other emissions from oil and gas operations. The public now has until Jan. 31 of next year to comment rather than the previous Jan. 14.

EPA announced its new rules last month, which will apply for the first time to oil and gas infrastructure built before 2015 and will update rules for new sources imposed by the Obama administration. Also, EPA proposes to regulate associated natural gas, which is frequently vented or flared during oil production.

The Rundown

Wall Street Journal India seeks its own solar industry to counter China

Associated Press US officials eye fuel supply for advanced nuclear reactors

Calendar

THURSDAY | DEC. 16

3 p.m. The American Conservation Coalition, along with Dream Corps Green For All, will host a discussion called “Finding Common Ground: The Growing Climate Solutions Act,” featuring Republican Rep. Don Bacon and Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger. The event will be livestreamed on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.