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Mar 30, 2023
House Passes Sweeping Energy Bill That Curtails Biden's Climate Law
(Bloomberg) -- House Republicans passed a sweeping energy bill that would repeal parts of Democrats’ marquee climate law and boost US oil and gas production in the first main policy initiative of their new majority.
The legislation, H.R. 1, approved Thursday by a 225-204 vote, has been declared a non-starter in the Senate and is under veto threat from the White House. Still, elements could resurface in Republicans’ demands to Democrats to support lifting the federal debt limit.
“It would help things,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said in an interview about adding the legislation to the debt ceiling. “It’s not the only thing but it would certainly help.”
Read More: GOP Demands Speedy Energy Permits as Price to Boost Debt Limit
The bill also represents House Republicans’ initial offer on permitting reform, a goal shared by Senate Democratic leadership and the White House, as House leadership floats a plan to speed permitting for energy projects in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling.
The legislation would enshrine into law Trump administration changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a 53-year-old law considered sacrosanct by many environmentalists. In addition to putting a two-year time limit on environmental reviews, the bill would limit litigation and exempt a host of activities from reviews.
The bill, which would mandate more oil and gas lease sales, would make it harder for states to block construction of interstate pipelines that cross their borders and would make it easier to permit mining, drilling and other energy projects.
The bill would repeal a first-time fee on methane emissions as well as $27 billion in funding to the EPA to establish a green bank — both included in the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law last August. In addition, the legislation would roll back fees and increase royalty rates for the oil and gas industries included in Democrats’ climate bill.
Congressional Democrats blasted the legislation — which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said is “dead-on-arrival” — as a gift to big oil.
“It’s almost as if you gave a pen to an oil lobbyist and wrote down everything they’d want,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive Democrat from New York, said about the bill in Wednesday remarks on the House floor.
--With assistance from Erik Wasson.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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