Energy & Environment Correspondent
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Dec 9, 2013

U.S. senators prepare legislation to pressure Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators are preparing legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran in six months if an interim deal on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program goes nowhere, penalties that Iran’s foreign minister has said would kill the agreement.

The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk are close to agreeing on legislation that would target Iran’s remaining oil exports, foreign exchange reserves and strategic industries, aides said on Monday.

Dec 4, 2013

Iran’s ability to enrich uranium troubles U.S. lawmakers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers in the House of Representatives said on Wednesday they are concerned about Iran’s ability to continue enriching uranium under the interim agreement on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, an issue they are likely to press as global powers attempt to reach a final agreement.

The concerns showed that House lawmakers could be willing to push for a new sanctions package next year that would define what Congress would be willing to accept in a final deal with Iran.

Nov 29, 2013

U.S. extends Iran oil sanctions waivers to China, India, South Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department extended six-month Iran sanctions waivers on Friday to China, India, South Korea and other countries in exchange for their reducing purchases of Iranian crude oil earlier this year.

The waivers had been expected. Under a law governing sanctions imposed on Iran’s disputed nuclear program by the United States, the State Department is required to determine whether the Islamic Republic’s oil consumers have reduced their purchases.

Nov 22, 2013

Fisker files Chapter 11, U.S. recoups $25 million in loan sale

DETROIT (Reuters) – Fisker Automotive, the moribund maker of the Karma plug-in hybrid sports cars, agreed to sell itself to an investor group on Friday and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The investor group, Hybrid Technology LLC, took control of the car company after paying $25 million for a U.S. Department of Energy green technology loan to Fisker worth $168 million, said a spokesman for Representative Marsha Blackburn, vice chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

Nov 15, 2013

Obama administration proposes cutting 2014 biofuel mandate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Friday to slash federal requirements for U.S. biofuel use in 2014, partially bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry and attempting to prevent a projected fuel crunch next year.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed to cut overall use of renewable fuels – made mostly from U.S. corn and to a lesser extent from soybeans, grasses, crop waste and Brazilian sugar cane – to a range of 15 billion to 15.52 billion gallons.

Nov 14, 2013

U.S. lawmakers question Obama’s plea for Iran sanctions pause

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. lawmakers expressed sharp frustration with the Obama administration’s call to delay new sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, underscoring the difficult sales job the Democratic president has as he pursues a rapprochement with Tehran.

Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials visited Capitol Hill to warn senators that implementing the new measures could scuttle delicate talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Nov 13, 2013

Kerry warns that new U.S. sanctions could torpedo Iran talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If the Congress imposes new sanctions against Iran, it could scuttle ongoing international negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons work, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

“The risk is that if Congress were to unilaterally move to raise sanctions it could break faith in those negotiations and actually stop them and break them apart,” Kerry told reporters before a meeting with U.S. senators on the matter.

Nov 8, 2013

White House says criticism of Iran nuclear deal premature

NEW ORLEANS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Friday that Israeli and Saudi criticism of a deal taking shape with Iran to curb its nuclear program was premature, as unease about the plan grew among U.S. lawmakers and Middle Eastern allies.

“There is no deal, but there is an opportunity here for a possible diplomatic solution, and that is exactly what the president is pursuing,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama on Air Force One to New Orleans.

Oct 29, 2013

U.S. senators seek to cut Iran’s oil sales in half – again

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Fresh U.S. sanctions over
Iran’s disputed nuclear program being debated behind closed
doors in the Senate aim to slash the country’s oil sales in half
within a year of the plan being signed into law, an influential
senator said this week.

Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, told a meeting of the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in New York on Monday that a
package of sanctions ready to move in his chamber has a goal of
cutting Iran’s current oil exports to no more than 500,000
barrels per day.

Oct 25, 2013

Kerry, Lew to brief U.S. senators on Iran nuclear talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will hold a briefing on Thursday on the status of nuclear talks with Iran for members of a U.S. Senate committee considering tough new sanctions on Tehran, Senate aides said on Friday.

President Barack Obama’s administration has been pushing the Senate Banking Committee to hold off on the new sanctions in order to give negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program a chance.

    • About Timothy

      "I cover U.S. energy and environment policy and climate change. Moved to DC in late 2009 after a decade in New York. Author of "Diminishing Resources:Oil," which is one in a series of books for young adults."
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