House Republicans Go All In With Dirty Energy Industry Bonanza Legislation

The dirty energy industry might experience Christmas in June if House Republicans have their way. Earlier this month, members of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT) unveiled a “package” of legislation that includes numerous bills that would give the industry everything that they’ve dreamt of for years. The legislative initiative, known as the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, would grant almost unbridled access to federal lands for oil drilling and strips the EPA of their ability to properly regulate industry.

From a House Energy and Commerce Committee press release:

Members of the House Energy Action Team today unveiled the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a legislative package comprised of a series of bills that aim to increase access to American energy resources and prevent misguided federal policies that will drive energy prices higher. Energy and Commerce Committee member Cory Gardner (R-CO) will sponsor this legislative collection that will help spur job creation by removing roadblocks to American energy production. Included in the package are two proposals advanced by the Energy and Commerce Committee: the Strategic Energy Production Act and the Gasoline Regulations Act.

The Strategic Energy Production Act, authored by Gardner, will hold the president accountable to long-term domestic energy supply solutions over short-term political gimmicks. The proposal requires that any future drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve be coupled with a plan to increase the percentage of Federal lands leased for oil and gas exploration, development, and production. To learn more about the Strategic Energy Production Act, click here.

The Gasoline Regulations Act, introduced by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), promotes a “look before you leap” approach to regulation. It requires an interagency committee to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain EPA regulations affecting transportation fuels to better understand their impact on gas prices, jobs, and the economy. The legislation also prevents the agency from finalizing three of its most costly rules—Tier 3 standards, NSPS standards for petroleum refineries, and new ozone standards—until after the study is completed and policymakers have time to assess the consequences…“Over the past three years, prices at the gas pump have roughly doubled, and that is unacceptable,” said Whitfield.

Whitfield’s statement about gas prices flies in the face of reality, as gas prices today are actually 53 cents lower than the last month of President Bush’s term in office. This falsehood was also repeated by HEAT member Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who told CBS News recently that gas prices today were 100% higher than when Obama took office.

Representative Ed Markey, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, offered the best response line about the proposed legislative package from HEAT:

Instead of sending a thank you note to President Obama for increasing oil production and decreasing our foreign oil dependence through his 'all of the above' energy strategy, House Republicans are sending a love letter to the oil industry in the form of another oil-above-all scheme.

This legislation is the result of months upon months of attacks on both the EPA and President Obama’s energy policies. All of the attacks and claims made by the industry and their favorite elected officials have been thoroughly debunked on DeSmogBlog and elsewhere on a constant basis. To put it succinctly, President Obama has been all too friendly with the oil industry, and the EPA’s standards have created more jobs than the dirty energy industry has created in the last few years.

The HEAT legislation package was immediately praised by dirty energy interests like the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. And when you look at the members of HEAT, it is clear why the industry and their front groups are so excited. These companies and “independent” organizations have pumped more than $4 million into the campaign coffers of members of HEAT, and you can find all of their donations, anti-EPA statements, and their various anti-environmental stances ON THIS PAGE.

Again, this legislation has long been in the works by Republican Congressmen who have been undermining and actively working to dismantle the EPA for quite some time. And, even though the claims of “job creation” and “energy independence” might play well with American voters this year, none of these claims are able to stand up in terms of truthfulness. Whether or not the public acknowledges the truth, and realizes that this legislation is only being put forth because Congressional Republicans want more dirty energy money for their campaigns remains to be seen.