To help you understand what updates to expect in the regulatory review process from the White House, and what we expect to happen in the future, the highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you informed of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free copy of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You’ll get the latest news first by subscribing, but we’ll post many (but not all) forecasts a few days later online. Here’s the latest…
Facing a divided and chaotic Congress and uncertain re-election prospects in 2024, President Biden will resort to organizing over the next year or so, setting new rules before a new administration takes office. Many of the rules should now be familiar to anyone who has followed Washington and its political maneuverings over the past decade.
Biden’s clean energy plan
Another example is the Clean Energy Plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Biden’s version of the CPP allows more room to maneuver for technology, such as carbon capture, to keep coal and natural gas-fired power plants in compliance with new emissions requirements. But critics say regulators still unfairly penalize fossil fuels, a potential basis for future legal challenges.
The so-called CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards remain a perennial point of contention. The Biden administration wants to increase requirements by 2% annually for cars and 4% annually for trucks, pushing fuel efficiency to a fleetwide average of 58 miles per gallon by 2032, up from 50.5 now.
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The Department of Energy also proposed major changes to how oil-equivalent fuel economy is calculated for electric vehicles. Automakers fear this will lead to a shift to electric vehicles before the technology and consumers are ready. Regulators are proposing tougher efficiency gains for heavy vehicles, seeking a 10% annual efficiency increase for model years 2027 to 2032.
Oil and gas leasing on public lands
In energy and transportation, the main activity is the high cost of oil and gas leasing on public lands by the Department of the Interior. This includes increasing the royalty rate from 12.5% to 16.67% and the minimum bid from $2 to $10 per acre. The proposal also promotes needed coherence, as funds are secured before drilling begins to cover the costs of cleaning up abandoned wells.
Officials have also moved to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas production, as well as leaks from pipelines used to transport natural gas. It also aims to tighten restrictions on fine particulate matter, a deadly pollutant that includes soot and which is produced by power plants, construction trucks and others.
Other upcoming regulations of note They include a rule that redefines “independent contractor” under federal law, which has significant implications for workers’ wages and benefits, new efficiency standards for appliances, including air conditioners, washers, refrigerators and stoves, and an overhaul of risk management rules to prevent chemical accidents.
Some of these standards have been finalized and are not yet in effect, while others are still in the rulemaking process. Other priorities, such as workplace heat regulations, may require a second term for Biden.
These forecasts first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been in publication since 1923 and is a collection of brief weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, plus what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming to make the most of your investments and money. Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Letter.