House cuts green energy permitting funds from energy bill

The House approved an amendment on Tuesday that would cut in half the money available to the government to consider and issue permits for solar and wind energy projects.

Members agreed by voice vote to the amendment to the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, H.R. 1965.

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The amendment, from Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), adjusted language in the bill that limits wind and solar permitting activities at the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management to $10 million. Hastings's language reduced that to $5 million, a change he said was necessary to help ensure the overall bill meets a deficit reduction goal.

The amendment was one of three the House approved by voice today. Others were from:

— Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), requiring the Secretary of Interior to estimate the expected increase in domestic production of renewable energy sources on Hawaiian Home Lands.

— Tom Marino (R-Pa.), requiring the Secretary of Interior to include transmission and pipelines across federal lands as part of its plan that it would have to develop under the legislation to address energy security.

The House is expected to hold votes on other amendments on Wednesday, and pass the bill. The legislation sets a 60-day deadline for approving applications to drill for energy on federal land.

It also requires more lease sales in he National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, and removes barriers to the development of energy on Native American lands.