By Ben Geman - 11/18/13 07:16 AM EST
House Republicans will take aim this week at White House environmental and energy policies.
The House will vote on bills that would block Interior Department regulation of oil-and-gas “fracking,” expand onshore areas available for drilling and set new permit deadlines.
Interior is preparing rules that would require disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process and create standards around well integrity and management of so-called flowback water.
The Flores bill would block Interior from enforcing the rules in states that already have their own rules or permit requirements — even if they are weaker than the federal mandates.
Republicans have combined that bill with a separate measure from House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
His plan would force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to alter its ongoing study of the effects of fracking on drinking water resources.
The legislation would require the study to include “objective estimates of the probability, uncertainty and consequence of each identified impact, taking into account the risk management practices of states and industry.”
Smith has expressed concern that the EPA study would describe risks without providing enough information on their context or probability.
The House will also take up Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) bill that’s aimed at making it easier for oil-and-gas companies to obtain drilling permits on federal lands.
It would give Interior 60 days to approve or reject onshore drilling permits; permits would be “deemed” approved if Interior fails to act.
The bill also sets a floor on how much acreage Interior must offer for onshore oil-and-gas development.
The House will vote on a third bill designed to speed up permitting of natural-gas pipelines.
Check out all the bills here.
Beyond the floor battles, this week on Capitol Hill brings new committee action and a major energy efficiency event.
On Tuesday a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel convenes to mark up legislation aimed at speeding up energy projects – oil pipelines, gas pipelines and power transmission – that cross national borders in North America.
The Energy and Power Subcommittee will gather Tuesday to consider the bill by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas).
But the real action – amendments and votes – comes Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, the Alliance to Save Energy’s “Great Energy Efficiency Day” will include remarks from senior Energy Department official and a number of lawmakers
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who are trying to revive their energy efficiency bill that stalled weeks ago on the floor, will give remarks.
On Thursday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will review how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is implementing plans to enhance safety in the wake of Japan’s nuclear disaster.
Also Thursday, a House Natural Resources Committee panel will hold a hearing on legislation that would require the government to reimburse states for all funds spent on national park operations during the 16-day government shutdown.
Off Capitol Hill, Tuesday brings the launch of the American Shale & Manufacturing Partnership, which a media advisory describes as a “a diverse group of organizations and industries united in their singular goal of realizing an American manufacturing renaissance.”
Speakers at the National Press Club launch include representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, among others.
And very far off Capitol Hill, the Associated Press reports that international climate talks in Poland are heading into a “tense” final week.