Energy Week: Legislators have a chance to support important bills

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This week is “Energy Week” in the US House of Representatives.

House Republicans are going to vote on important legislation to help unleash American energy and to stop punishing energy use.

While the Republicans are leading this effort, Democrats should support the bills too if they are concerned with affordable and reliable energy. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will support the bills. In fact, President Joe Biden has already expressed opposition to each of the bills. But don’t be surprised if there are some bipartisan votes this week.

Here are the six bills on the agenda:

H.R. 1121 – Protecting American Energy Production Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-SC)

This bill would prohibit the president from unilaterally imposing a moratorium on fracking without first getting the authorization of Congress. Another provision of the bill includes a sense of Congress making it clear that states should take the lead when it comes to regulation of fracking on state and private lands.

H.R. 6009 – Restoring American Energy Dominance Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-CO)

This bill would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to withdraw its July, 2023 proposed rule “Fluid Mineral Leases and Leasing Process” and would prohibit BLM from issuing any substantially similar rule. This harmful rule, among other things, implements provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that would increase royalty rates for oil and gas production on federal lands and would create new fees for producers. 

H. Con. Res. 86 – Expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy (Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-MT)

This resolution would make it perfectly clear that the House opposes a carbon tax. The language of the resolution makes several important points, including outlining the harm a carbon tax would have on American families and on the prices of goods.

If anything, this resolution understates the harm of a carbon tax. It rightfully points out that about 80 percent of American energy comes from fossil fuels. Energy affects almost every facet of our lives. Therefore, a carbon tax is really a tax on modern life. It’s a means to punish energy use, from running medical equipment in hospitals to keeping families warm in the winter. If a legislator wanted to lower the standard of living for Americans and move the country backwards, then a carbon tax would be ideal. But for other legislators who want individuals and the nation to prosper, rejecting a carbon tax is a must.  

H.R. 7023 – Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act (Sponsored by Rep. David Rouzer, R-NC)

The bill is intended to provide clarity and predictability for Clean Water Act permitting, including limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to veto Section 404 permits and requiring that the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issue guidance on the meaning of “Waters of the United States” consistent with the Sackett v. EPA decision. 

H. Res. 987 – Denouncing the harmful, anti-American energy policies of the Biden administration, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA)

This resolution’s title captures its purpose. There is a long list of “whereas” clauses laying out the Biden administration’s harmful energy policies. Such actions include cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline on Biden’s first day in office, unlawfully halting all new oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands, cancelling Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil leases mandated under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, limiting oil extraction in the 13-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve, cancelling three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, holding only 18 onshore lease sales in his first 36 months in office compared to Trump’s 82 lease sales, temporarily pausing (i.e. indefinitely prohibiting) U.S. natural gas exports, and imposing a 20-year mining moratorium in Minnesota’s Iron Range, an area rich in copper, nickel, and cobalt—minerals critical to Biden’s hoped-for energy transition.

The resolution focuses only on the supply-side of Biden’s anti-fossil fuel agenda. Not covered are the Biden administration’s efforts to ban electricity production from fossil fuels, and severely limit the sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars. In fairness, there are so many problems with Biden’s war on energy, it’s understandable that the resolution doesn’t cover the electricity and demand side of the equation. Hopefully the House will pass a comparable resolution on electricity, grid reliability, and consumer issues soon.

H.R. 1023 – To repeal section 134 of the Clean Air Act, relating to the greenhouse gas reduction fund (Sponsored by Rep. Gary Palmer, R-AL)

This legislation would repeal the IRA provision creating the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. This is a $27 billion slush fund for the agency. As CEI has pointed out, it is far worse than just an agency slush fund. It would allow the EPA to provide billions of dollars to a small number of nonprofits who then, with wide discretion, could shell out money to recipients.

If there’s one bill that should get bipartisan support, it should be this one. Even if a legislator likes the purpose of the spending, no legislator should support a program that is so rife for abuse and ignores the fact that Congress has the spending power, not federal agencies, and certainly not nonprofits.

The IRA requires that the $27 billion be handed out by September 30 of this year. So, on top of the existing problems with the program, the EPA is being rushed to spend billions of taxpayer dollars. The bill would rescind any of the unobligated money.


House Republicans, and especially bill sponsors, should be commended for bringing these important bills to the floor. Hopefully, the House will support these efforts. Legislators should embrace our nation’s energy potential, not seek to restrict it. In doing so, they will be helping to improve the lives of all Americans.