Energy News Today

Russia-Ukraine War: Latest News and Live Updates

WASHINGTON — President Biden came into office promising to tackle the planet’s climate crisis. But rising gas prices, driven in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have pushed the environmental-minded president to do something unlikely: embrace oil.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden traveled to Iowa, where he announced that the Environmental Protection Agency would temporarily lift regulations prohibiting the summertime use of an ethanol-gasoline blend known as E15, which contributes to smog during the warmer months. Mr. Biden said his government was going to waive the regulation in order to lower the price of gasoline at the pump for many Americans.

“It’s going to help some people and I’m committed to whatever I can do to help, even if it’s an extra buck or two in the pockets when they fill up, make a difference in people’s lives,” Mr. Biden said after taking a tour of a facility that produces 150 million gallons of bioethanol a year. He added later: “When you have a choice, you have competition. When you have competition, you have better prices.”

The ethanol announcement is the latest move by Mr. Biden’s White House that runs counter to promises he made as a presidential candidate to pivot the United States away from fossil fuels. The price of gas, it seems, has changed his calculus. The average cost of a gallon of gas last October was $3.32; in March, it was about $4.32.

Last month, the president proposed a new policy aimed at pressuring oil companies to drill for oil on unused land, saying the companies have thousands of “permits to dig oil if they want. Why aren’t they out pumping oil?” Mr. Biden also announced the sale of 180 million barrels of oil from the country’s strategic petroleum reserve over the next six months, the largest-ever release in history.

“It will provide a historic amount of supply for a historic amount of time,” Mr. Biden said then.

Mr. Biden has walked a careful tightrope in the weeks since U.S. sanctions on Russian oil and gas sent energy prices soaring. Even as he has implored oil producers to pump more crude, the president has sought to assure his political base that meeting the needs of today’s crisis won’t distract from the longer-term goal of moving away from the fossil fuels that drive dangerous climate change.

The president’s embrace of oil underscores his awkward position between two competing priorities: the imperative to reduce America’s use of fossil fuels and the pressure to respond to the rising price of gas.

Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

“I don’t think when his term started Joe Biden thought he would be spending his second year tapping the strategic petroleum reserve or flying off to Des Moines to approve E15 waivers,” said Barry Rabe, a professor of political science and environmental policy…

Read More: Russia-Ukraine War: Latest News and Live Updates

2022-04-13 03:05:07

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