House Republicans will vote next week on a bill countering Biden administration’s “war on energy,” one that attacks everything from President Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, to broad restrictions on oil and gas development, to last year’s creation of a $27 billion “green bank” fund at EPA.
GOP leaders will call up the Lower Energy Costs Act, a bill that reflects months of work by Republicans to catalog and dismantle various moves by the Biden administration to tamp down on the oil, gas and coal resources that still account for a majority of America’s energy mix.
“For the last two years, President Biden and his extremist friends in Washington have waged a war on American energy, and hard-working families across the country are paying the price,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., who sponsored the bill.
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The 174-page bill is the most ambitious effort yet by House Republicans to attack Biden’s energy policy, which they say has only led to higher gas and home heating prices and has shut down the chance for new job growth related to exploring America’s energy resources.
“From the gas station to the grocery store, President Biden’s war on energy is making life unaffordable for the hardworking people of this country and forcing us to be dangerously reliant on supply chains controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. We must reverse course,” said House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
The bill would reverse several of the policies put in place in Biden’s first two years and signals congressional disapproval for those that can’t be reversed.
It prohibits a ban on hydraulic fracturing in a bid to reject Biden’s decision in his first week in office to ban new fracking on federal land. It kills a moratorium on coal leases on federal land that started in the Obama administration and was revived by the Biden administration. It repeals a tax created by the Inflation Reduction Act on methane emissions that is expected to ding the oil and gas industry for more than $6 billion over the next decade.
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It also requires the Department of the Interior to conduct delayed onshore oil and lease gas sales and release its long-delayed five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing. The offshore plan was due last summer and could be delayed for 18 months or more, which leaves the U.S. with no new lease sale options – industry experts have warned that the delay is likely to create significant energy disruptions in the future.
Elsewhere, the bill bans China from controlling energy development on U.S. land, creates a new Clean Energy Act waiver to pursue U.S. energy development, and makes it harder for left-leaning states to block critical energy projects.
The bill includes a range of provisions aimed at easing permitting rules for energy companies and includes non-binding language that disapproves of Biden’s decision to kill the Keystone pipeline in 2021.
It does take an active step against the $27 billion “green bank” created by the Inflation Reduction Act, which Republicans have charged is a slush fund that directs taxpayer money to left-wing pet projects that won’t advance U.S. energy security.
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The White House insisted this week that the Biden administration’s clean energy agenda “is fueling an unprecedented clean energy manufacturing boom that is bringing energy costs down, reducing America’s resilience on oil, and finally putting us back on track to meet our clean energy projects.”
But Republicans are hoping House passage will put pressure on the Senate to take up the bill, or elements of it, as Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have been outspoken opponents of Biden on some energy issues.
“Monday night, the Department of the Interior made it painfully clear – again – that they are putting their radical climate agenda ahead of our nation’s energy security, and they are willing to go to great lengths to do it,” Manchin said in early March on the delay of a five-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan. “The earliest that Interior will release a legally required program for 2023-2028 offshore oil and gas leasing will be the end of this year. That’s 18 months late.”
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“This is the first time in our nation’s history that we haven’t had a 5-year leasing program released before the old plan expired,” Manchin added. “Every other Administration, Democrat and Republican, has managed to follow the law in a timely fashion.”