Mar. May 30th, 2023

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are poised to pass a sweeping energy package that seeks to undo virtually all President Joe Biden’s agenda to address climate change.

The huge GOP bill to be voted on Thursday would dramatically increase domestic production of oil, natural gas and coal, and ease permitting restrictions that hold up oil pipelines, refineries and other projects. It would also boost production of critical minerals like lithium, nickel and cobalt that are used in products like electric vehicles, computers and cell phones.

Republicans call the bill the “Energy Cost Reduction Law” and they have given it the symbolic label HR 1, the top legislative priority of the new Republican majority, which seized control of the House in January. The measure, which combines dozens of separate proposals, represents more than two years of work by Republicans who have chafed at Biden’s environmental agenda. They say Biden’s efforts have thwarted US energy production and increased costs at the gas pump and in the grocery store.

“Families are fighting President Biden’s war on American energy,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-Los Angeles, one of the bill’s lead authors. «We have too many energy resources here in the United States to depend on hostile nations and pay (high prices) at the pump.»

The GOP bill «will free up those resources so we can produce energy in America,» Scalise said. «We don’t have to be addicted to foreign countries that don’t like us.»

Democrats called the bill a giveaway to big oil companies.

«Republicans refuse to hold polluters accountable for the damage they cause to our air, our water, our communities and our climate,» said New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Camera.

“While the Democrats achieved historic victories for the American people by passage of historic climate legislationRepublicans are actively working to undermine that progress and do the bidding of their polluting friends,” Pallone said.

Biden has threatened to veto the energy bill if it makes it to his desk, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., calling it «dead on arrival» in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the GOP bill «restores America’s energy leadership by repealing unnecessary taxes and overregulation of America’s energy producers» and «makes it easier to building things in America” by setting a two-year time limit. in environmental reviews that now take an average of seven years.

“Every time we need a pipeline, a highway or a dam, it takes five to seven years back and adds millions of dollars in costs to get the project through Washington’s permitting process,” McCarthy said in a House speech. . «It’s too long, it’s unaffordable, it’s not based on science, and it’s holding us back.»

He pointed to a project to modify and improve the Lake Isabella dam in his central California district that has taken 18 years and is still not finished.

“Allowing reform is not for everyone,” McCarthy added. “If you like paying more at the pump, you don’t want American workers building more pipelines faster. If you are China, you would rather the US sit back and let others lead. And if you’re a bureaucrat, maybe you really enjoy reading the 600-page environmental impact studies.»

Most Americans want lower prices and more energy production in the US, McCarthy said, results he says the bill will deliver.

Democrats called it misleading and said the Republican plan was a thinly disguised effort to reward oil companies and other energy producers that have contributed millions of dollars to Republican campaigns.

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, mocked the bill as a “Polluters Over People Act” and “a nearly 200-page love letter to polluting industries.

instead of controlling Big Oil Companies That Have Reported Record Profits While “accumulating thousands of unused leases” on public land and water, the GOP bill reduces royalty rates paid by power producers and restores non-competitive leasing on public land, Grijalva said.

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