House GOP to push new wave of energy reforms next week

"Our country is in desperate need of a national energy strategy, and increasing domestic production should be a major component of that plan," Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the lead sponsor of the bill, said last week. "By increasing oil and gas leases on federal land to match what is released from our emergency energy reserves, we can turn a short-term supply fix into a long-term policy that promotes America's energy independence."

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Gardner is the sponsor of the bill that now serves as the vehicle for several proposals. His Domestic Energy and Jobs Act would link drawdowns from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increased domestic energy — once there is a drawdown, the secretary of Energy would have to develop a plan for increased leasing of federal land for oil and gas development.

The bill also includes language from Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), the Gasoline Regulations Act, which would set up an executive-branch committee charged with estimating the cumulative impacts of EPA rules on gas prices, jobs and the economy. That committee would have to issue a report to Congress 210 days after enactment.

Another proposal, from Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), would require the secretary of the Interior to report every four years on the government's federal onshore energy strategy.

The bill also includes other GOP language requiring the Secretary of the Interior to decide on energy leasing permits within 30 days, requiring lease sales in Alaska, and allowing Internet-based onshore oil and gas lease sales.

The House Rules Committee has set a June 18 deadline for amendments to the bill, H.R. 4480, a sign the bill could be considered as early as next week, once members return from break.

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