The Republican’s energy policy package or The Lower Energy Costs Act is better known as H. R. 1. On March 30th Roll Call 182 Number H. R. 1 passed, 225-204, in the first session in the 118th Congress. Four Democrats (Cuellar (TX), Golden (ME), Vincente Gonzales (TX) and Perez (WA)) crossed the aisle and voted with the Republicans. Six Democrats (Castor (FL), Castro (TX), Cleaver (MO), Hoyle (OR), Kelly (IL) and Lee (CA)) were in attendance but chose not to vote. Also, one Republican (Fitzpatrick (PA)) voted with the Democrats. Although this was definitely a victory in the House sending a message, a Democratic controlled Senate is less likely to pass it nor will the President sign it. Their reasoning was not to cave to the big oil companies. With the recent news of the major oil countries such as Saudi Arabia stating they will be cutting oil production; the Senate may think long and hard about voting against the bill. One reason the Saudis gave was the US was not replenishing their strategic reserves. The Saudis hold all the cards. Will the Senate play hard ball or will they help the American citizens and vote Yea when the bill comes on the floor for a vote?
H.R. 1 goal is to increase domestic energy production while lowering gas and utility prices. Several items in the bill are listed below.
The bill streamlines the permit process, 150-300 pages depending on the project versus the current average of 597 pages. Two years to conduct an environmental review. One hundred and twenty days for anyone wanting to challenge the project’s approval.
It also aims to increase production and sales of oil and gas. For public lands, it requires the Interior Department to hold at least four annual sales per state in at least nine states for oil and gas drilling rights. The royalty rates (16.67% to 12.5%) and fees will also decrease for companies that drill offshore.
The president will not be allowed to block cross border energy projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. State authority will also be eliminated to block these types of projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Energy Department will have full control.
No pause on any type of fracking will be allowed.
The bill allows US liquefied natural gas to be sold overseas by removing the approval process of the Energy Department.
Uranium, a critical mineral, was removed from the federal priority list by the current administration because it is a fuel mineral. The bill will allow fuel minerals on the list which will overturn the 2020 law that banned fuel minerals on the list. The Trump administration labeled Uranium as a critical mineral and placed it onto the critical mineral list.
Several climate, tax and health care programs which were passed last year will be eliminated. EPA funds used for climate friendly projects in disadvantaged communities will also be reduced.
Existing moratoriums on new coal leasing will end.
Reduce endless litigations.
Reduce blackouts by increasing reliable electricity generation.
Prevent foreign countries from monopolizing critical industries.
** Data from email News Release by Doug Lamborn, U.S. Congressman for Colorado, and Clerk United States House of Representatives (https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2023182)