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K Street sign in Washington, D.C., where many lobbying outfits reside. Photo By Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Keeping President Trump focused, climate change and infrastructure priorities are some of the issues that will face the next president of the American Petroleum Institute, now that longtime API head Jack Gerard said yesterday that he's departing in August.

Why it matters: API is the industry’s most prominent and influential trade group, with over 600 members representing companies across the oil-and-gas sector. It seeks to shape regulations and policies from multiple agencies, in addition to lower-profile work such as setting technical standards.

The main issues facing API:

  • Team Trump's foibles: Sometimes the Trump administration gets in its own way when taking regulatory and policy steps that are supportive of the industry. Most recently, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stepped on a rake when rolling out a plan to massively expand offshore leasing but abruptly pulled Florida from consideration in a way that creates legal and political headaches for the pro-drilling push.
  • Climate change: API has a sprawling membership with different policy positions, including several Europe-based majors that are supportive of pricing carbon. If Democrats regain power in Washington, this topic will come to the forefront.
  • Infrastructure: Gerard, in a recent speech, signaled that the industry will push for any infrastructure package to ease permitting for pipelines and other infrastructure. And now the industry is also facing a new Chamber of Commerce push to raise the gas tax.
  • Coal: The natural gas industry strongly opposed DOE's now-vanquished push for new wholesale power market rules that would have bolstered revenues for coal and nuclear plants. But subsequent Trump administration efforts to alter the market on coal's behalf could revive this fight.
  • Ethanol: The years-long battle over the Renewable Fuel Standard — the biofuels blending mandate that many API members strongly oppose — isn't going away anytime soon.

The big question: What will be the profile and resume of the next API president? One option is someone with high-level experience in the trade association world.

  • Names that are popping up in my conversations since the announcement include people like Karen Harbert, a former George W. Bush administration DOE official who currently heads the energy arm of the Chamber of Commerce, and Marty Durbin, API's executive VP.

Another option: They could seek what one industry analyst dubbed "star power." In this zip code, this would mean someone like a former member of Congress or ex-cabinet official, such as former Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, an industry ally when she was in Congress.

Go deeper

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
1 hour ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Obama: Broad slogans like "defund the police" lose people

Snapchat.

Former President Barack Obama told Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show "Good Luck America" that "snappy" slogans such as "defund the police" can alienate people, making the statements less effective than intended.

What he's saying: "You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," Obama told Hamby in an interview that will air Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. EST on Snapchat.