Jul 25, 2018

Shell, BP sign letter praising bill taxing carbon emissions

The opening of a Shell fuel filling station. Photo: Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images

Oil-and-gas giants Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Equinor have signed onto a letter circulating among companies praising legislation introduced Monday taxing carbon emissions, according to multiple people familiar with the details.

Why it matters: These companies, along with a few other big oil producers, have long said they support a tax on carbon emissions. Signing a letter — even though it’s still just a letter — is an early and important prerequisite that could likely lead to active lobbying Congress to support the bill.

One level deeper: The bill, which would replace the federal gas tax with a carbon tax, was introduced by GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, with one fellow GOP co-sponsor, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. A Curbelo spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter, expected to be released as soon as Wednesday.

Yes, but: The letter, which is expected to include a range of corporations, does not explicitly endorse the bill. Instead, it’s expected to broadly praise it and its role jumpstarting what’s been a long dormant substantive conversation on climate policy on Capitol Hill, according to people who have seen a copy of it or are familiar with it. Curbelo's legislation is symbolically important but has zero chance of passage in the foreseeable future, due to powerful GOP opposition to carbon taxes.

For the record: Spokespeople for BP and Shell reiterated their support for a carbon tax, though they either declined or didn’t respond to requests for comments about the letter. An Equinor spokesperson confirmed the Norwegian company's participation early Wednesday.

Go deeper: GOP lawmaker introduces first big climate bill in nearly a decade

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include confirmation from Equinor and clarify the letter is from companies only, not other entities like environmental groups.

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Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

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Buttigieg campaign claims Nevada caucuses were "plagued with errors"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg's campaign wrote a letter on Sunday asking the Nevada State Democratic Party to release early vote and in-person vote totals by precinct and address certain caucus errors identified by campaigns, The Nevada Independent reports.

The big picture: The campaign alleges that the process of integrating early votes on caucus day was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies,” and says it received more than 200 incident reports from precincts around the state.

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Coronavirus threat grows, threatening some drug supplies

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

As the novel coronavirus continues spreading globally and China grapples with a limited production capability, there's a growing risk to about 150 prescription drugs in the U.S., sources tell Axios.

The big picture: The coronavirus has spread to more countries, with both South Korea and Italy stepping up emergency measures amid rising case numbers on Sunday. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,467 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China.

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