House GOP energy package met with yawn by Sierra Club

Republicans in the U.S. House on June 6 unveiled what they called their national energy plan, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, which House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said includes five “bipartisan” Natural Resources Committee bills.

Hastings jointed House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other House Republicans in introducing the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a package of energy production bills, including five from the Natural Resources Committee, that will create new jobs by streamlining “burdensome government red tape,” modernizing energy production processes and planning for American’s energy future production.

“It’s a simple fact that American energy production creates American jobs and helps grow our economy,” said Hastings. “States like North Dakota have strongly benefited from booming new energy production on state and private lands while the Obama Administration has kept the vast majority of federal lands off limits to energy development and job creation. … These bipartisan bills remove government barriers to American onshore in order to create jobs and make America more energy secure.”

Said one GOP talking point on this proposal: “The greatest potential for economic growth in this country can be found in America’s energy resources, and while the President is pre-occupied with telling Americans what he won’t do on energy, the economy and jobs, House Republicans are showing what we can do.”

The package was dismissed by Sierra Club’s Associate Director for National Campaigns Melinda Pierce. The legislation “shows House Republicans will tirelessly rehash ways to put the agenda of big polluters before the needs of their constituents,” Pierce said.

The five Natural Resources Committee bills are:

  • H.R. 2150, National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act. This bill aims to unlock the full potential of energy resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska by ensuring that oil and natural gas are developed and transported in a timely and efficient manner.
  • H.R. 2752, BLM Live Internet Auctions Act. This bill gives the Secretary of the Interior the authority to conduct Internet-based auctions for onshore leases to ensure the best return to the federal taxpayer, reduce fraud and secure the leasing process.
  • H.R. 4381, Planning for American Energy Act. This bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish an all-of-the-above energy program for federal lands by reviewing the nation’s energy needs and then establishing goals for federal land energy production to meet those needs from all energy sources; oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.
  • H.R. 4382, Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act. This bill makes reforms to the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal land in order to eliminate delays and hurdles.
  • H.R. 4383, Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act. This bill reforms the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of federal onshore oil, natural gas, and renewable resources.

The two other bills included in the GOP proposal are:

  • Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, H.R. 4480. This bill links tapping of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to increasing energy production on federal lands. If the President releases oil from the SPR, the Administration will be required to develop a plan to lease more federal lands for exploration and production.
  • Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, H.R. 4471. This would require an interagency committee to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules and actions that impact the price of gasoline and diesel fuels. It will suspend the implementation of the Tier 3 fuel standards, refinery New Source Performance Standards, and ozone standards until six months after the report is submitted to Congress.

The Sierra Club, in reaction to the GOP proposal, released the following June 6 statement from Pierce: “It’s hardly surprising that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Fred Upton, and the rest of the House Republican leadership are pushing gimmicks that would boost the boundless profits of the Big Oil and Big Coal lobbyists to whom they are beholden. It’s nothing new – their number one priority for the last two years has been waging war on the EPA’s life-saving public health protections solely to promote the agenda of their big polluting campaign contributors. Yet, the vast majority of Americans and even Republican voters support the EPA’s work and believe that EPA – not Congress – should protect them and their families from dangerous pollution. Elected officials are supposed to represent the people of their districts, not the corporations that stuff money in their pockets – but this legislation shows House Republicans will tirelessly rehash ways to put the agenda of big polluters before the needs of their constituents.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.