House GOP Unveils Energy Package

Plan Critical of Federal Permitting Process
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
"We can streamline permitting and still protect the environment," Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy says. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg News)

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Federal energy and permitting policies prioritized by House Republican leaders were formally introduced in the form of a comprehensive legislative package.

The GOP leadership is proposing facilitating access to domestic energy resources, as well as expediting the permitting process for big-ticket projects in the recently unveiled Lower Energy Costs Act.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his deputies intend to consider the measure before the end of the month. Its provisions take direct aim at President Joe Biden’s energy and climate change agenda, which were partly advanced via aspects of the administration’s Build Back Better plan.

“Every time we need a pipeline, road or dam, an average of almost five years and millions of dollars in costs get added to the project to comply with Washington’s permitting process. That’s too long,” McCarthy said March 14. “We can streamline permitting and still protect the environment.”

Sam Graves


The bill’s co-sponsors include the Republican caucus’ leadership team, as well as Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.). The transportation panel has pledged to conduct oversight of the White House’s energy directives.

“Addressing America’s ongoing energy crisis is one of the most important actions this Congress can take. The last thing we need is to be dependent on foreign energy, especially when we can produce and distribute energy here in the United States and maintain our environmental standards at the same time,” Graves said soon after the introduction of the bill, classified as H.R. 1. “This legislation will prevent federal water regulations from being hijacked and weaponized to block important energy projects, and I’m proud to have the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s work included as part of H.R. 1’s common-sense and comprehensive approach to solidifying our energy independence.”

“[The Lower Energy Costs Act] boosts energy production, lifts regulatory burdens for the construction of more energy infrastructure, cuts China out of our critical materials supply chains and lowers costs across the board. All of this will ensure we build a better and more secure future in America,” added Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), also a co-sponsor.

Specifically, the bill aims to enhance domestic energy production, reform parts of the permitting process for certain industries, undo anti-energy policies applied by the Biden administration, expedite energy infrastructure and exports, and accelerate production of critical minerals.

Per background the transportation committee provided, the bill “requires states to publish clear requirements for their water-quality certifications and clarifies that states may only consider discharges as a result of the federally permitted or licensed activity, not from other sources.”

The package is expected to be debated at the Committee on Rules the week of March 27 followed by its consideration on the floor of the chamber. Its GOP support in the House notwithstanding, prominent Senate Democrats have expressed their opposition to the Republicans’ comprehensive energy and permitting package. Leading his party’s pushback is Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Sen. Chuck Schumer


“House Republicans are rolling out a partisan, dead-on-arrival and unserious proposal for addressing America’s energy needs that they have laughably labeled H.R 1. It is a nonstarter in the Senate,” Schumer told colleagues after the introduction of the bill.

“Republicans’ so-called energy proposal is as bad and as partisan as it gets. H.R. 1 will lock America into the most expensive and volatile dirty sources of energy, and will set America back a decade or more in our transition toward clean, affordable energy,” the Senate leader added. “Even a brief glance at the House GOP proposal is enough to show it’s not a serious package.”

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