Natural Resources to vote on energy, permitting package

The legislation would ease permitting laws, and Democrats are expected to oppose it. Two subcommittees will also hold hearings this week.

March 06, 2023

House Republicans are barreling ahead with a partisan energy and permitting package, despite considerable Democratic opposition.

On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee plans to vote on a mega bill, the "Transparency, Accountability, Permitting and Production of (TAPP) American Resources Act," which bundles three pieces of legislation from Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chair Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.).

Republicans are selling the bills as necessary to develop more energy on American soil and limit what they see as the "weaponization" of environmental laws by outside groups (E&E Daily, March 1).

"Every kind of energy source, from oil and gas to minerals to wind and solar, falls prey to NEPA," Westerman said last week, referring to the National Environmental Policy Act.

Specifically, the bill includes provisions setting shot clocks and page limits for environmental reviews, restricting the opportunity for court challenges, increasing oil and gas lease sales, eliminating "repetitive" bureaucratic processes, and forcing government planners to permit hardrock mining faster.


Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) countered that the issue is much more dynamic than some let on.

"Quite honestly, some folks don’t want to have the conversation; they want to just proceed right to attacks on NEPA as if that’s the only way to achieve our clean energy goals,” he said in an interview at the House Democrats' retreat in Baltimore last week.

He said many lawmakers don’t realize the Inflation Reduction Act included a billion dollars for more federal employees to conduct environmental reviews. There are other “game changers,” too, like a pending proposal before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Biden executive orders to speed up interagency coordination.

In fact, according to two people familiar with the matter who were granted anonymity to speak candidly, the White House is planning to issue a directive in the coming days or weeks to help offshore wind energy projects.


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By:  Kelsey Brugger and Emma Dumain
Source: E&E Daily