Wednesday, May 25, 2011

House Subcommittee Approves Two More Energy Initiative Bills

May 24: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Chaired by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) with Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL), approved what Republicans are calling "two key pieces of legislation under the American Energy Initiative" -- the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act (Discussion Draft); and the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act, or TRAIN Act (H.R.1705). Both "bipartisan" bills passed out of the subcommittee by voice vote.

    The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, led by Subcommittee members Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gene Green (D-TX), would allow oil gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf by streamlining the U.S. EPA's permitting process and "eliminating the needless regulatory delays that have prevented energy development in these waters for years."  

    The TRAIN Act, introduced by Subcommittee Vice Chairman John Sullivan (R-OK) and Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT), would require an interagency committee to conduct an analysis of the cumulative economic impacts of several rules that "would increase energy costs and threaten manufacturing and job growth in the United States." This analysis will provide a greater understanding of how these regulations are impacting America's global competiveness, energy prices, and jobs.

    Chairman Whitfield said, "I am pleased to send these two bills to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for action. The TRAIN Act would provide a much needed cumulative analysis of the effects EPA's proposed regulations and actions will have on jobs and the economy. Further, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act would enable the U.S. to responsibly access and develop our own domestic resources in the Outer Continental Shelf in order to reduce our energy dependence on unstable supply lines from foreign nations. I look forward to advancing these bills through the full committee and the House."
    Ranking Member Rush said in an opening statement, "The TRAIN Act would highlight the costs of implementing certain EPA rules but does not take into account all of the benefits of these regulations, including enhanced public health, increased job productivity or lives saved. This bill would also not take into account the positive impacts that EPA regulations have had on our economy, including spurring additional research and development of clean energy technologies, instituting higher fuel efficiency standards and helping make the country less dependent on foreign oil.

    "Unfortunately, for many of my colleagues, if the benefits of a regulation cannot be monetized, such as lives saved or job loss prevented, then they are written off as having no economic value. I would submit that for many local communities, especially those less affluent ones which are so often disproportionately affected by dirty air and the consequences that come with it, the omission of health impacts in the analysis that the TRAIN Act calls for would be a great disservice to them. Additionally, my concerns with the 'Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011' have been expressed through each step of this legislative process. . ." Amendments offered by Democrats were defeated on voice votes.

    Access the statement from Chairman Whitfield (click here). Access the statement from Rep. Rush (click here). Access the Republican Markup hearing website for background, statements, webcast, amendments and voting information (click here). Access legislative details for the TRAIN Act (click here). Access the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, Discussion Draft (click here). [*Air, *Energy]