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Legislative Developments

Biden Signs Bipartisan U.S. Infrastructure Bill into Law After Months of Negotiations

President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a Nov. 15 signing ceremony, fulfilling the first of a two-part effort to combat climate change, among other priorities.

"Today, we're finally getting this done," the president said before signing the bill.

After a months-long struggle to pass the infrastructure bill along with a more partisan budget bill, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced the former on Nov. 5. Congress is still considering the budget reconciliation bill, dubbed the Build Back Better Act, and the House could act on it later this week.

Biden touted the infrastructure bill's investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, creating the first "true national network of charging stations for electric vehicles."

The infrastructure bill aims to help the U.S. meet Biden's goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2035. Among other provisions, the legislation includes more than $65 billion for power infrastructure, including $29 billion for the electricity grid.

It also clarifies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's role in issuing construction and modification permits pertaining to interstate transmission facilities should a state deny approval for a project.

Additionally, the bill includes incentives to prevent nuclear plants from closing prematurely for financial reasons and will offer low-interest loans for CO2 transport projects.

Billions of dollars in grants would be devoted to battery processing, manufacturing, and recycling as well.

The president also issued a Nov. 15 executive order to implement the infrastructure bill, directing federal agencies to, among other things, implement the legislation's "Made-in-America requirements and [bolster] United States manufacturing and supply chains."

Infrastructure Bill Heads to Biden's Desk with Clean Energy Sharing Wins with Oil, Gas

President Joe Biden is poised to sign into law a historic $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that could help modernize the electric grid and unlock billions of dollars for cutting-edge energy technologies, following passage by the US House of Representatives late Nov. 5.

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U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Awaits House Action

The U.S. Senate passed a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill Aug. 10 partly aimed at supporting the country's transition to cleaner energy generation and vehicle electrification.

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U.S. DOE, Interior Officials Laud Infrastructure Package, Remain Bullish on Budget Bill

Biden administration officials touted the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure deal as the first step toward reaching the president's ambitious climate and clean energy targets, while sharing their optimism about the Build Back Better Act's eventual passage.

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Economic Benefits

S&P Global Ratings Analysts Discuss The Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Plan

A recent S&P Global Infrastructure Ratings' conference panel (Oct. 13) considered the potential impacts of the roughly $545 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill as part of the larger Biden infrastructure agenda.

The implications of the bill were discussed at length by the S&P Global panelists who cover key areas such as transportation, telecommunication, power, sustainability, and economics.

Congress may bring to a vote this week a reconciliation bill targeted at social and climate change spending between $1.5 billion and $2 trillion, which would clear the way for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill with about $545 billion in new spending.

President Biden has prioritized investment in America's infrastructure since his administration's early days. The agenda has faced many hurdles with pressure from both sides of the political spectrum contributing to intense debates over the bill's final status.

Infrastructure Law Paves The Way For Transportation GARVEE Bonds' Federal Support And A Stable Sector View

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains a five-year surface transportation reauthorization through 2026 that replaces the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which expired on Dec. 3, 2021.


How U.S. Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Jobs, Productivity, and the Economy

As the U.S. economy recovers, the Biden Administration is looking to further strengthen the recovery with an infrastructure funding bill. S&P Global Ratings has updated their projections on what impact a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure would have on the economy through 2030.

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A Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Emerges to Address Social Disparities

The most significant spending is allocated for roads, highways, and bridges. S&P Global Ratings expects this to advance significant progress in addressing climate-resilience needs, although more investment will be needed. There's a renewed focus on community safety and reversing historical injustices and the underfunding of transit systems and other critical infrastructure in poor communities. Universal access to high-speed internet will help enable better access to economic and educational opportunities for poor urban and rural areas alike. Alongside this bill, there's a reconciliation that focuses more heavily on social infrastructure and climate change.

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On the Path to Net Zero

Hydrogen Tax Credit Would Support Both Green, Blue Production

The hydrogen production tax credit proposed in the Democrats' latest federal budget reconciliation bill favors hydrogen produced from zero-carbon energy, but is likely substantial enough to also support facilities that use natural gas as a feedstock.

The latest version of the bill left the overall tax credit, known as a PTC, intact: A facility developer would still qualify for a credit of $3 per kilogram of hydrogen produced, or 60 cents per kilogram if the project does not meet labor requirements. What changed is the way in which the credit phases out — and how that would affect blue hydrogen production, which pairs carbon capture technology with steam methane reformation or autothermal reforming of natural gas.

U.S. House Unveils New Reconciliation Bill Loaded with Climate, Clean Energy Money

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives released text of new legislation Oct. 28 to carry out President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda. The nearly 1,700-page bill was stuffed with major climate and clean energy provisions.

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DOE Insights Show Diverse Regional Paths to U.S. Hydrogen Economy Emerging

At the outset of an emerging hydrogen economy, regions across the U.S. are considering diverse pathways for producing low-carbon hydrogen and scaling demand, data from the U.S. Energy Department suggests.

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LA Green Hydrogen Hub Developers Map Out Role for Gas Pipelines, Storage

Both dedicated hydrogen lines and the existing natural gas pipeline grid will be critical to making a proposed Los Angeles green hydrogen hub viable, according to the Green Hydrogen Coalition, one of the project's chief developers.

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Clean Energy Incentives

Utilities Eye Grid-Enhancing Technology Incentives Amid U.S. Infrastructure Push

A growing number of electric transmission and distribution companies are experimenting with grid-enhancing technologies as the U.S. Congress advances legislation that would offer billions of dollars in matching grants for those types of investments.

One of the latest companies to implement a grid-enhancing pilot project is Duquesne Light Co., or DLC, a utility with more than 600,000 customers in western Pennsylvania.

On Aug. 31, the DQE Holdings LLC subsidiary announced a new partnership with LineVision Inc., a company that manufactures no-contact sensors that give transmission operators the ability to implement dynamic line ratings.

Dynamic line ratings give transmission operators close to real-time visibility into a power line's potential operating capacity based on a variety of data inputs, including ambient temperatures and line sag.

LineVision already has dozens of customers globally and counts National Grid USA, Xcel Energy Inc., Dominion Energy Inc. and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District among its top U.S. clients.

DLC is starting small with just 12 sensors on a single line, but the company has high hopes for the technology's potential going forward, said Josh Gould, the utility's director of innovation.

"We are very excited about the potential for using this technology on other transmission lines," Gould said in an interview. The director declined to share details of the deal for confidentiality reasons.

As Congress Drafts Budget Bill, Dozens of Climate Advocates Seek Clean Energy Incentives

Dozens of clean energy trade groups and conservation organizations appealed to the US House Ways and Means Committee to include several incentives for renewable energy and storage technologies in the forthcoming budget bill.

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Details Emerge on House Clean Electricity Performance Program

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering a proposal that would establish a new U.S. Department of Energy program to provide grants for power companies that increase their percentage of clean energy by certain margins each year and impose fees on those that do not.

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House Democrats Seek to Boost U.S. Tax Credits for Clean Energy, Climate Programs

Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means released a raft of proposed new and revised tax credits late Sept. 10 as part of a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package aimed in part at avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

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Transmission Advocates Hope for More After U.S. Senate Infrastructure Bill Rollout

A huge bipartisan infrastructure bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate was deemed by the White House to be the largest single investment in clean energy transmission in American history.

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U.S. Infrastructure Bill Chock-Full of Transmission Provisions, Disappoints on EVs

Days after announcing consensus on the proposal, the U.S. Senate released a 2,702-page bipartisan infrastructure bill that could help expand the country's electric grid and bolster existing and new clean energy technologies.

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Metals in the Midst

Steel, Aluminum Demand to See Boost on Passage of Long-Awaited U.S. Infrastructure Package

The long and winding road to reach a bipartisan deal on US infrastructure spending has finally come to an end, with the domestic steel and aluminum industries expected to see a boost to demand in the coming years as projects take shape.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden Nov. 15, marks the largest investment in US infrastructure since the Federal Highway Act of 1956.

The bill allocates $1.2 trillion in infrastructure spending over a period of 10 years, including $550 billion in new spending over five years, to address a range of issues. Among the metals-intensive funding in the legislation is $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major projects, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $39 billion for public transit, and $7.5 billion for electric vehicles.

U.S. Electrical Steel Output Vital to Infrastructure Plans: Cleveland-Cliffs CEO

U.S. steel and differentiated iron ore producer Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. is calling on the Biden administration to impose import restrictions on transformer components containing electrical steel to help ensure the country's domestic supply for electrical infrastructure.


Infrastructure Bill Challenged by Dearth of U.S. Upstream Mining, Refining

The massive infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 5 could stimulate demand for domestically sourced materials through expanded "Buy America" requirements.


AISI Hails U.S. Infrastructure Bill, Buy American Provision to Boost Steel Demand

The American Iron and Steel Institute hailed President Joe Biden's signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Nov. 15 as the legislation, which includes Buy American provisions, is expected to support domestic steel demand.

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U.S. Steelmakers Applaud Senate Passage of Infrastructure Bill

U.S. steelmakers praised the Aug. 10 U.S. Senate passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which – if also approved by the US House of Representatives – is expected to substantially boost steel demand.


Despite Slashed EV Funding, U.S. Metals Sector Sees Win in Infrastructure Deal

Groups representing U.S. battery metals are calling the bipartisan infrastructure deal a win even though the Biden administration only got a small fraction of the electric vehicle support it wanted.


Effects on Energy

Biden Administration Proposes to Reverse Trump-Era Clean Water Act Rule

The Biden administration on Nov. 18 moved to reverse a Trump-era Clean Water Act rule that would have eased permitting obstacles for energy infrastructure by stripping the statute's protections from about half the nation's wetlands and nearly one-fifth of its ephemeral streams.

At issue is a Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, or NWPR, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It replaced an Obama-era rule aimed at clarifying which waters are covered by the Clean Water Act's permitting programs.

Under the Clean Water Act's permitting program, project developers seeking to dredge or fill protected waters must obtain a permit under Section 404 of the statute. To obtain a permit, developers must show that they have taken steps to avoid impacts to wetlands, streams and other resources. Potential impacts must be minimized and compensation must be provided for all remaining unavoidable impacts.

Infrastructure Bill Could Allow Loan Guarantees for Struggling Alaska LNG Project

The bipartisan infrastructure package being debated by Congress could make federal loan guarantees available to Alaska's long-struggling effort to develop a multi-billion dollar LNG export terminal. But even that may not significantly boost the chances of the project ever getting built.


Year in Pipelines: Growth in U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Assets Slowed Again in 2020

The total value of U.S. interstate natural gas transportation and storage assets reported to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission crept up in 2020, but year-over-year growth lost momentum, continuing a trend that showed up in 2019 after an active year in 2018.

Slowing growth could partly reflect the growing opposition to new natural gas infrastructure among environmental advocates and some regulators and policymakers.

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Digital Implications

The Senate’s Approval of the Infrastructure Bill and Its Effect on Cryptocurrency

On Aug. 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate approved the much-debated Infrastructure Bill, a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s agenda. The bill overall is worth over $1 trillion. Yet the impact on the digital asset community, while small from a dollar perspective, may be equally outsized. It is estimated that the bill will increase tax revenue collected from digital asset investors by $28 billion, not by raising tax rates or creating new taxes but rather by applying new information reporting requirements on participants in the digital asset industry.

Generally, under Section 6045 rules, those falling under the definition of a “broker” are required to issue a Form 1099 to report gross proceeds on a transaction-by-transaction basis together with their customers’ names, social security numbers, and other relevant information. The bill expands the definition of a broker to include “any person… effectuating transfers of digital assets, including any decentralized exchange (DEX) or peer-to-peer marketplace.”

Infrastructure Bill Poses Opportunities, Challenges for Broadband Providers

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill moving through Congress stands to be a windfall for broadband providers, but how quickly the money is spent and by whom could hinge on the details, telecom attorneys said.


Widening U.S. Digital Gap Illustrates Infrastructure Bill Rationale

The $65 billion earmarked for broadband within the proposed $1-trillion infrastructure bill will primarily aim at closing a U.S. digital divide that expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Kagan analysis of the nation's broadband take rate across various household density areas.