Energy & Environment

GOP plans for ‘era of abundance’ in energy

House Republicans are pushing a comprehensive policy package for energy that aims to ease pipeline permits, train more workers for the industry and wield increased production as a diplomatic tool.

Leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee outlined their goals in a four-part “framework” document they released Monday. They want to move the legislation through the House by the end of the year.

{mosads}The package will continue the “Architecture of Abundance” theme that Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the panel’s chairman, began touting last year along with Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

“Today’s energy policies are lagging far behind and are better suited for the gas lines in the 1970s than this new era of abundance,” the chairmen said in a statement accompanying the framework.

“We need policies that meet today’s needs and are focused on the future, and that starts with building the Architecture of Abundance,” they said.

The effort comes as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), gears up to release its own comprehensive energy package. Congress hasn’t passed major energy legislation since 2007.

The energy push could help Republicans as they seek to draw contrasts with President Obama and rack up achievements for their new majorities in the House and Senate.

While fighting Obama’s environmental and energy agenda is part of the framework, it takes a backseat to other priorities.

The plan has four pillars: modernizing energy infrastructure like pipelines and transmission lines; developing a better energy workforce; using energy internationally for diplomatic purposes; and increasing both energy efficiency and government accountability in energy.

“By modernizing our infrastructure, empowering a 21st century energy workforce, strengthening our energy diplomacy, and promoting more efficiency and accountability, we can lay the foundation for a forward-looking national energy strategy that truly embraces our energy abundance and its boundless benefits,” Upton and Whitfield said.

“Most importantly, saying yes to energy will create jobs, keep costs down for all Americans, and boost our energy security.”

The framework touches on the role of American energy internationally, but it does not mention whether Republicans would try to lift the decades-old ban on crude oil exports, an issue that divides the GOP.

Some of the proposals are sure to face opposition from Democrats.

For example, efforts to make domestic and cross-border oil and gas pipeline permitting easier are likely to draw connections to the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The House last year passed a bill to remove Obama’s authority to review cross-border pipeline permits, which Democrats said was an effort to allow Keystone XL’s developers to go around the president.

But some ideas, like increasing access to education for workers, are likely to attract bipartisan support.

Tags Ed Whitfield Fred Upton House Energy and Commerce Committee Natural gas oil pipelines
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