The Lower Energy Costs Act
House Republicans recently passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. By numbering this legislation as H.R. 1, Republicans recognize that unleashing American energy is one of Congress’ top priorities and critical to the wellbeing of the American people and our economy.
In 2020, under President Trump, the United States achieved energy independence. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. produced more petroleum than it consumed, the first year since at least 1949. Unfortunately, this energy comeback was short-lived.
On his very first day in office, President Biden began enacting policies to counter the energy achievements made in the last Administration, ones that severely hampered domestic oil and gas production. As a result, the American people have experienced exorbitant energy prices.
The Biden Administration made permitting new fossil fuel and nuclear energy projects very difficult. The New York Times recently reported that even thousands of renewable energy projects are delayed due to the current regulatory landscape.
In parts of Virginia gas prices reached record highs, close to $5 a gallon in June 2022. The price of residential heating oil hit an all-time high in November, costing Virginians $5.52 per gallon.
This has been especially burdensome for low-income households; some families in the 9th District have had to choose between paying their energy bills to keep their homes heated during the winter and other necessities.
We can do better.
H.R. 1 incorporates 25 individual pieces of legislation from across three different standing House committees to address the energy issues we have experienced over the past few years.
As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Energy Subcommittee, I have been proud to be one of the people working to make H.R. 1 a good bill.
H.R. 1 aims to increase domestic energy production and alleviate some of the cost increases at the pump, by reversing Biden’s anti-energy policies.
It includes legislation to disapprove of Biden’s canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline, which cost the United States 11,000 American jobs and could have had a positive economic impact of between $3.4-9.6 billion. The additional oil would have been cheaper to transport to American refineries by pipeline, rather than moving the oil by truck or train. This would have kept gasoline prices from rising as much.
The legislation also requires the Department of the Interior to resume lease sales on federal lands and waters and repeals many restrictions on the import and export of natural gas, including LNG.
About half of the homes in the United States use natural gas for space heating and water heating. Included in H.R.1 is legislation to repeal President Biden’s natural gas production tax. This tax has played a hand in increasing household energy bills across the country.
H.R. 1 reforms the country’s permitting process through changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting process. These changes will streamline federal environmental reviews for all sectors of our economy by ensuring that NEPA review challenges are substantive and by setting deadlines for completion of the NEPA reviews.
This energy package also repeals Section 134 of the Clean Air Act, relating to the greenhouse gas reduction fund. This $27 billion ‘green bank’ was implemented as part of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act to advance the bad policies of the Green New Deal.
The legislation also addresses our need for domestic production of critical minerals. In the left’s rush to green energy, America has become too reliant on volatile Chinese supply chains, and in some cases, the use of slave labor. The Department of Energy reported that, among other things, China controls 80% of the world’s rare earths production and refining which is needed to manufacture wind turbines and 60% of lithium refining needed for electric vehicles and battery storage.
I believe in an all-of-the-above energy approach, including renewables, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of our national security. This legislation boosts the mining and processing of hardrock minerals, including critical minerals needed to ramp-up production of renewable energy components, maximizing our domestic energy production. It also requires the Department of Energy to identify resources that are particularly vulnerable to supply disruptions.
Unfortunately, before the House passed H.R. 1, President Biden threatened to veto the legislation, to the detriment of all Americans.
Hopefully the Senate will work with us to get a bill that helps Americans by lowering energy costs.
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