News and Press

Politico: Markey, Obama touch on slowdown of permitting during shutdown – Antarctic programs threatened

MARKEY SAYS GOP AT FAULT FOR SHUTDOWN, EFFECTS ON ENERGY PRODUCTION: Sen. Ed Markey has a new analysis of the shutdown’s effects on federal drilling safety oversight and permit processing and no work on offshore renewable energy (Pros will remember a similar roundup of shutdown information in ME last week). The Massachusetts Democrat also manages to blame Republicans for any effect the shutdown may have on energy production. “The tea party Republican shutdown is shutting down future energy production from federal lands onshore. The Republican shutdown is potentially making offshore drilling less safe. The GOP government shutdown is going to lead to decreased oil, gas and renewable energy production on public lands and costing taxpayers money.” The analysis:

But wait, there’s more: President Barack Obama took a similar swing at Republicans during a press conference yesterday. “The Republicans say they’re very concerned about drilling,” Obama said. “Well, one of the things that happens when the government shuts down is new drilling permits aren’t processed. So why would the Republicans say to the folks who are interested in drilling for oil, sorry, we can’t let those things be processed until we have some negotiations and we have some cover to do what we’re supposed to be doing anyway? That doesn’t make sense.”

CAN’T TOUCH THIS — OIL AND GAS BREAKS EDITION: There are many ways Congress could reach a grand bargain deal to avert the debt ceiling — but the National Taxpayers Union is arguing that increasing taxes on oil and gas producers shouldn’t be one of them. The conservative group sent a statement of principles to Congress this week urging lawmakers to dump “deadweight losses” and steer clear of stripping deductions for energy companies from the code. Pete Sepp, the executive vice president for NTU, told POLITICO’s Morning Tax that the energy sector is a “large portion of the economic recovery” and would damaged if Congress took away the section 199 deduction. “If congress begins to disadvantage the energy section that is likely to muddy the entire tax reform package and might be less politically palpable than supporters would think it to be,” Sepp said, calling the deduction a litmus test for the group.

SHUTDOWN COULD REACH ANTARCTICA: Antarctica’s summer season — the prime time for conducting experiments on the icy continent — is fast approaching, but the shutdown may require researchers to end experiments, shut down experiments and get out of there, according to the National Science Foundation. The agency says it will have to shut down research, including at the three NSF-run stations in Antarctica, and pull possibly more than a thousand scientists out of there when it runs out of money of Monday, Oct. 14. The news has researchers up in arms over long-running observations and experiments that could be ruined by a gap in data collection. “This is absurd, just absurd,” said Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “It’s a very big logistical enterprise and this could jeopardize the entire research season for hundreds of important projects.”