The holiday season has officially kicked off for consumers, with massive sales and discounts being advertised in all forms of media. But the U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t have to fight the crowds to find the perfect gift for the dirty energy industry – they believe that the best gift is the one you make yourself.
As such, they’ve drafted several new pieces of legislation granting the wishes of the natural gas fracking industry. These legislative efforts could go before the entire House for a vote as early as next week.
The first legislative gift comes from Texas Republican Bill Flores, who put forth a bill that would prevent the Interior Department from issuing any new regulations on the fracking industry. This would effectively prevent the agency from being able to monitor the industry’s activities, and to gain access to information about the chemicals used in the fracking process.
Flores has long been a champion of the dirty energy industry, and polluters have rewarded him heavily for his service to them. Over the course of his very short career in the U.S. House of Representatives, the oil and gas industries have given Flores a total of $486,000 in campaign money, his largest industry contributor.
A second piece of legislation, known as the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, would speed up the permitting process for energy drilling and impose a $5,000 fee on anyone looking to challenge a permit. If passed, it would prevent many environmentalists from challenging new drilling permits, as the $5,000 fee would be an unfair burden in the fight to protect our environment.
This bill was put forward by Republican Representative Doug Lamborn, who has received a total of $174,000 from the oil and gas industries, his second largest campaign funder.
Lamborn’s legislation plays on several fears and desires of the American people. By including simple phrases like “jobs” and “energy security” in the name, he and his party can sell the idea to a public that will never take the time to find out what the bill is actually about. Instead, they’ll see those key terms and throw their support behind it.
While it is unlikely that either of these bills would be signed into law, they will certainly have an effect on our political system. Next year will be a huge midterm election year, and Republican politicians are eager to prove their merit to the dirty energy industry in order to secure a fresh round of campaign checks in time for their re-election battles.