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GOP Unveils “Lower Energy Costs Act”

House Republicans introduced their top-priority legislation on Tuesday: a major energy package aimed at boosting energy security and reforming the permitting process, according to The Hill

What’s going on: The bill, which is being called the Lower Energy Costs Act, includes dozens of plans that focus on increasing traditional energy production and shortening the lengthy permitting-approval process for infrastructure projects.

What’s in it: “The package specifically takes actions aimed at bolstering fossil fuel production, including making it easier to import and export natural gas, requiring more offshore oil and gas lease sales to be held, bar the president from halting fracking and taking power away from states to reject pipelines and gas export facilities that could impact their waterways. It also mandates that four onshore oil lease sales are held in each of at least nine eligible states each year.”

  • Importantly, the measure would also set both time and page limits for environmental reviews of energy infrastructure projects, and it would mandate that all lawsuits opposing approved projects be filed within 120 days.

Why it’s crucial: “Every time we need a pipeline, road or dam, an average of almost five years and millions of dollars in costs get added to the project to comply with Washington’s permitting process,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said following the bill’s introduction. “That’s too long. We can streamline permitting and still protect the environment. That’s a goal worthy of the number one.”

The last word: “This legislation responds to the NAM’s call for modernizing burdensome permitting processes,” said NAM Vice President of Government Relations Jordan Stoick.

  • “For too long, permitting delays and frivolous litigation have hindered everything from the modernization of existing sites and the construction of new manufacturing facilities to critical infrastructure and energy projects that manufacturers rely on to produce and deliver products to consumers.”
  • “In addition to providing needed permitting predictability, this legislation would also increase access to, and production of, domestic energy and critical mineral resources needed to stabilize supply chains and keep U.S. manufacturers competitive.” 
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