"The largest threat to this path of security continues to be ever increasing regulations that unnecessarily limit or impede the safe and responsible production of our energy resources and stifle the ability to maintain a diverse electricity generation portfolio,” subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wrote in a statement announcing their “Idea Labs” initiative.
But their goals, which are similar to last session, are a difficult sell in the Senate. They could possibly count on support from some centrist Democrats, but likely not enough to be filibuster-proof.
Instead, some of the best bets for legislation might stem from ongoing from bicameral, bipartisan talks between Capitol Hill energy leaders.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Whitfield and the staff for House Energy and Commerce ranking member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) have met recently to hammer out legislative items that could pass both chambers.
Whitfield said they all would meet again in three to four weeks to devise more specific proposals on issues “like efficiency and so forth.” He said those discussions would continue regularly to find areas of common interest.
Murkowski has said hydropower, energy efficiency and nuclear waste storage are three of the policy areas with momentum.
While those meetings are helping lawmakers close in on some specific legislation, Whitfield said no concrete vehicles exist for many of the issues his subcommittee is pursuing.
The Republicans said their achieving their policy aims would boost domestic energy supplies, reduce energy costs to help spur manufacturing, generate more federal revenues and lower electricity costs for consumers.