House Republicans offer another ‘all of the above’ energy bill

US House Republicans introduced an energy bill on June 10 which they said takes a more realistic approach than proposed carbon cap-and-trade legislation. The measure is an “all of the above” strategy similar to their 2008 proposal.

Jun 12th, 2009

US House Republicans introduced an energy bill on June 10 which they said takes a more realistic approach than proposed carbon cap-and-trade legislation. The measure is an “all of the above” strategy similar to their 2008 proposal.


Its oil and gas provisions include ordering the US Interior secretary to move ahead with Outer Continental Shelf leasing, authorizing leasing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, and restoring oil shale programs which Interior Secretary Ken Salazar scaled back in February.

Specific changes within the OCS provision include extending state territorial waters to 12 nautical miles offshore, sharing of 75% of federal revenues within 12 nautical miles and 50% farther out from new leases. The Interior secretary also would be required to offer at least 75% of available acreage within each OCS planning area for lease during each OCS five-year leasing program. Lessees also could relinquish any part of a lease that they are not interested in producing, but that the secretary finds geologically prospective, to the secretary who would then provide a royalty incentive for production from the retained portion.

The bill also would require reviews within 60 days of legal challenges to exploration and production, and require that such lawsuits be filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent judicial forum shopping. It also would streamline the permitting process for refinery expansions and order the president to designate at least three closed military installations as potential suitable for building a new refinery, including at least one suitable for refining biomass into biofuel.

The measure also includes provisions covering nuclear energy, alternative and renewable technologies, and conservation and efficiency.

Sensible alternative

Sponsors said that their bill is a sensible alternative to House Democrats and the Obama administration’s carbon cap-and-trade proposals. “The American Energy Act is a bill that will lower energy prices with the exploration and recovery of natural resources in the United States, promote alternative energy and energy conservation, and help put our neighbors back to work,” said Rep. Robert E. Latta (R-Ohio). “Instead of a $3,100 per year tax increase for every American family that the Cap and Tax proposal offers, the American Energy Act works to lower energy prices for American families, which is important now during this recession, but also for the future.”

“When it comes to energy, we need an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation,” said Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.), a Natural Resources Committee member. “We need to use new technologies and methods to dramatically expand the use of solar, wind, nuclear, and biofuels as well as traditional energy sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. In direct contrast to the president’s proposal of a national energy tax, I believe our bill represents a step in the right direction toward achieving the goal of building a cleaner, safer, and stronger country for all Americans.”

“Oil is once again going up, which means [gasoline] prices are going to go up,” said Rep. John M. Shimkus (R-Ill.). “Some of my friends in Congress want to add to these costs with an energy tax disguised as cap-and-trade. Instead of adding to your heating, cooling, and gasoline bills, I want our nation to increase production of American energy such as clean-coal, nuclear, wind, solar, renewables, and offshore oil and gas.”

House GOP leaders endorsed the bill. “The House Republicans’ American Energy Act, not the Democrats’ national energy tax, is the fastest route to a cleaner environment, lower energy costs, and more American jobs,” said Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio.

Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member, said that Democrats should provide the House an opportunity to consider and vote on the measure “so that we have an energy policy that helps Americans by protecting our environment, providing affordable energy, and creating new high-paying jobs.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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