The House passed a broad GOP energy bill aimed at reversing Biden’s climate policies

Washington – The House on Thursday approved a sweeping energy package that seeks to undo all of President Biden’s agenda. Address climate changeFour Democrats joined the Republicans in voting.

The massive GOP bill would sharply increase domestic production of oil, natural gas and coal and ease permitting restrictions that have delayed pipelines, refineries and other projects. This will boost production of important minerals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt, which are used in products such as electric vehicles, computers and cell phones.

Voting to pass the Bill, The “Law of Low Energy Costs” 225 to 204. One Republican voted against the measure.

Republicans code-labeled the bill HR 1 — a top legislative priority of the new GOP majority that took control of the House in January. The move, which combines dozens of separate proposals, says Mr. It reflects more than two years of work by Republicans confused by Biden’s environmental agenda. Mr. They said Biden’s efforts have crippled U.S. energy production and increased costs at the gas pump and grocery store.

“Families are struggling because of President Biden’s war on American energy,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, one of the bill’s key authors. “In the United States we have many energy resources that we rely on and pay for in hostile countries [high prices] At the pump.”

Scalise said the GOP bill would “unleash those resources so we can produce energy in America.” “We don’t have to be slaves to foreign countries that don’t like us.”

Democrats said the bill would cater to big oil companies.

“Republicans refuse to hold polluters accountable for 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.

“While Democrats have delivered historic victories for the American people by passing historic climate legislation, Republicans are actively working to undermine that progress and do the bidding of their polluter friends,” Pallone said.

Mr. Biden has threatened to veto the energy bill if it reaches his desk, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York called it “dead on arrival” in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the GOP bill “restores U.S. energy leadership by repealing unnecessary taxes and excessive regulations on U.S. energy producers,” and “makes it easier to make things in America” ​​by putting a two-year time limit on environmental reviews that now take place. An average of seven years.

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

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy leaves the House Republican Caucus on March 28, 2023 at the Capitol in Washington, DC

Kevin Deitch/Getty Images

He pointed out that 18 years into his Central California district’s Lake Isabella replacement and development project, he still hasn’t finished.

“Allowing reform is not for everyone,” McCarthy added. “If you want to pay more at the pump, you don’t want American workers to build more pipelines faster. If you’re China, America should sit back and let others lead. If you’re an official, you probably enjoy reading 600-page environmental impact studies.”

Most Americans want lower prices and more American energy production, McCarthy said — results he said the bill would deliver.

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

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, derided the bill as a “polluters-on-people act” and a “nearly 200-page love letter to polluting industries.”

Instead of reining in “big oil” companies that have made record profits by “hoarding thousands of unused leases” on public lands and waters, the GOP bill cuts royalty rates paid by energy producers and reinstates non-competitive leasing of public lands, Grijalva said.

He said the bill is a “free-for-all on our public lands” for mining companies and “makes a mockery of tribal consultation” required under federal law.

Under the GOP plan, mining companies would “destroy sacred and special places” across the West, “destroy the landscape, leave a toxic mess that pollutes our water and affects our health — all without paying the American people a cent,” Grijalva said.

Schumer called the move “a betrayal of Big Oil as an energy package.”

The House energy package “would gut critical environmental protections in fossil fuel projects,” locking the U.S. into “expensive, erratic and dirty energy sources, while setting back more than a decade in our transition to clean energy,” Schumer said.

Schumer said he supports streamlining the country’s complicated permitting process for energy projects, particularly those that provide “clean energy” such as wind, solar and geothermal power. “But the Republican plan is very poor on this front as well,” he said, calling on Republicans to support reforms that would help ease the transition to renewable energy and speed up the construction of transmission lines to shore up the nation’s aging power grid.

Schumer and other Democrats said the Republican bill would repeal $27 billion in greenhouse gas reduction funding and other parts of the climate and health care law passed by Democrats last year. The bill would also eliminate a new tax on methane pollution.

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