Two more energy bills advance in the House

Members of the House have voted to advance two energy bills, including one that puts timelines on environmental reviews on energy projects.

Members voted 225-190 to pass a rule allowing consideration of the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act, H.R. 2641. This bill from Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) would set an 18-month time limit for environmental assessments and a 36-month limit for environmental impact statements on these projects.

The House is expected to debate this bill later Thursday, and pass it.


The same rule also governs floor consideration on H.R. 2824, the Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs. This bill is aimed at stopping the Obama administration from re-writing coal mining regulations.

Republicans cite estimates saying the rule would cost thousands of jobs and hurt job growth in 22 states.

During today's brief debate on the rule, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) said both bills have bipartisan support because they impose common-sense limits on energy regulation.

"They ensure the regulatory process works for Americans as intended by Congress," he said.

"Across the nation, energy infrastructure projects are being significantly delayed," he added, addressing the need for the RAPID Act. "In some cases, the environmental reviews have continued on for a decade or more."

In a hint of the debate to come later Thursday, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) argued against the RAPID Act, and said prior research has found that delays in energy projects are usually not due to environmental reviews.

"When we considered this measure last Congress, the Congressional Research Service reported that delays in construction project approvals are more often tied to local, state and project specific factors," he said.

The rule approved by the House also lets the House consider a bill allowing the U.S. to offer loan guarantees for Ukraine.