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Prime Power - April 15, 2024


Israel Crisis Shifts House Energy Bill Consideration: This week, House leaders had placed several bills seeking to prohibit new appliance efficiency mandates on the Floor schedule; many will be bumped for negotiations on Israel security and a long-delayed foreign supplemental package. Republican-led bills that had been scheduled include the Liberty in Laundry Act, Affordable Air Conditioning Act, and a handful of bipartisan research and development bills for weather forecasting and carbon sequestration. The House calendar has been revised in response to developments in the Middle East.  

Senate Energy Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Hydropower Cybersecurity: On Wednesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on cyber threats to and vulnerabilities of critical water infrastructure. In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) noted that FERC has just four cybersecurity experts to oversee 2,500 dams and their cybersecurity rules have not been updated since 2016. Panelists lauded investments in dam infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and promised new updates to the agency's cybersecurity requirements.

Lead Senators Plan Nuclear Caucus: On Thursday, Senator James Risch (R-ID), who is Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee and sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced the launch of the Senate Advanced Nuclear Caucus with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). The caucus will be dedicated to promoting the advancement of the U.S. nuclear energy industry. According to reporting, legislators may reconcile the House-passed Atomic Energy Advancement Act and Senate-passed ADVANCE Act later this year into a nuclear power package for President Biden to sign.  

Department of Interior Finalizes Federal Oil Leasing Changes: On Friday, the Department of Interior finalized rules on bond and royalty terms for the federal oil and gas leasing program. Under regulations, the minimum bond for oil and gas leases will be $150,000, up from $10,000, and minimum royalties on oil and gas production will increase to 16.7% from 12.5%. Minimum bids on oil leases will also increase to $10 per acre from $2. The rule includes inflation adjustments for future rates, as well.  

Sen. Grassley Raises Alarm About Lack of Action on Farm Bill: On Tuesday, Senate Agriculture Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) raising issue about Farm Bill reauthorization being left off the “key legislative priorities” list Sen. Schumer released this year. The Farm Bill, set to expire September 30, has been “forgotten” by Democratic legislators, according to Sen. Grassley's complaint. Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has said she's committed to completing a bipartisan farm bill this year.  

OECD Issues Mineral Pricing Guidance: On Friday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development issued new guidance on mineral pricing to help developing countries address challenges of intercompany pricing of critical minerals. OECD’s guidance will inform tax authorities how to weigh economic factors that might influence a mineral sale, how to use public pricing data and how to decide when a change to a company’s pricing is worthwhile. OECD says they plan to release mineral-specific guidance in coming months, as well.  

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