Energy & Environment — Biden mulls backing gas tax holiday
President Biden says he’ll make the call soon on whether to support a federal gas tax holiday. Also, five tribes will make history to co-manage a national monument, and Virginia lawmakers shut down Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) push for a state gas tax suspension.
This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Biden’s gas tax holiday decision coming this week
President Biden on Monday told reporters he hoped to make a final decision about whether to support a federal gas tax holiday by the end of the week as high fuel prices continue to pose a problem.
“I hope I have a decision … by the end of the week,” Biden said from Rehoboth Beach, Del., where he spent the weekend.
- Biden did not rule out sending gas rebate cards to Americans, though administration officials have in recent days sounded cool to the idea.
- Suspending the federal gas tax would require an act of Congress, but a public push by Biden in favor of the policy could help spur action on Capitol Hill.
- An estimate from the Penn Wharton Budget Model released earlier this year found that suspending the federal gas tax from March to December of this year would reduce average per-capita gasoline spending by between $16 and $47 for that period.
The state of play: A handful of states have already suspended their own gas taxes, including Maryland, Connecticut and New York.
The average price of gas topped $5 per gallon last week, according to statistics from AAA.
Read more from The Hill’s Brett Samuels.
Tribes to co-administer national monument
Five Native American tribes will manage a national monument alongside the federal government for the first time under a new agreement reached between the Biden administration and the tribal nations.
- The tribes will work alongside the federal government to administer the Bears Ears National Monument — the size of which has been a subject of contention in recent years.
- The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation and the Pueblo of Zuni will now share responsibility for the Utah monument.
“This is an important step as we move forward together to ensure that Tribal expertise and traditional perspectives remain at the forefront of our joint decision-making for the Bears Ears National Monument,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, director of the Bureau of Land Management, in a statement.
“This type of true co-management will serve as a model for our work to honor the nation-to-nation relationship in the future,” she added.
Per the agreement, both the tribes and federal government will work together to plan how the monument’s land will be used and in developing programs for resource protection.
Read more about the agreement here.
Youngkin’s proposed gas tax suspension tabled
The Virginia Senate this weekend shelved a proposal by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) for a three-month gas tax holiday that had passed the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.
- Youngkin had introduced the measure in a budget amendment earlier this month. The state Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority, voted 21-18 Friday night to “pass by” the tax holiday amendment, effectively killing it. Sen. Emmett Hanger (R) joined all Democrats in the chamber in voting against suspending the tax, which costs 26 cents per gallon.
- State Sen. John Edwards (D), one of the votes against the bill, told local news outlet WSIS that revenues from the gas tax were necessary for vital state infrastructure.
- “We finally got enough money to maintain, repair, fix and expand the roads in Virginia with this 2020 package raising the gas tax,” Edwards told WSIS.
Youngkin blasted the vote and said Virginians should blame Democrats for pain at the pump, tweeting, “Democrats failed to put politics aside for the good of Virginians — for a third time. At a time when inflation and gas prices are at a high in the Commonwealth, Virginians should know that higher gas prices are brought to you by @VASenateDems.”
“The lead Republican on the finance committee voted with Democrats, next time try making a proposal that can even get the votes of your own side,” State Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Va.) responded on the social media platform. “We are here to work with you when you learn how to govern.”
An earlier version of the proposed suspension earlier failed in late April, when 10 Democrats and two Republicans killed it in the state Senate Finance Committee.
Read more about the vote here.
ON TAP TOMORROW
The House Appropriations Committee will mark up budget bills for the Interior Department, EPA and Energy Department
WHAT WE’RE READING
- As Colorado River reservoirs drop, states urged to ‘act now’ (The Los Angeles Times)
- Republican Drive to Tilt Courts Against Climate Action Reaches a Crucial Moment (The New York Times)
- A 3,400-year-old city in Iraq emerges from underwater after an extreme drought (CNN)
And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: First in the dictionary and in our hearts.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.