Energy & Environment

House slated to take up major energy package next week

Incoming House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.)
Greg Nash
Incoming House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

Next week, the House is expected to take up a major energy package that Republicans in the chamber are putting forward as the party’s top priority

The Lower Energy Costs Act, also known as H.R. 1, seeks to broadly speed up the approval process for energy projects and also has specific provisions aimed at bolstering oil, gas and mining. 

The legislation is not expected to ultimately become law, as it is unlikely to be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate or signed by President Biden.

It has also faced some skepticism even among House Republicans, particularly from the Florida delegation, over an absence of provisions aimed at restricting offshore energy projects off the coast of the Sunshine State.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) this week specifically raised concerns about offshore wind interfering with operations in a military testing area. Offshore drilling is also controversial in the state following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which reached Florida’s beaches and hurt local tourism.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told reporters during a recent Republican retreat in Orlando that “there’s already language in the bill” that addresses the offshore drilling issue. 

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) told E&E News this week that he needed “more assurance” that his amendment to ban drilling off Florida’s coast would be taken up.

Gaetz told The Hill on Thursday that while lawmakers made “a lot of progress” on the offshore drilling issue, he still has concerns about offshore wind.

“We have not yet landed at the right place on wind,” Gaetz said, adding that he and other Florida colleagues have drafted amendments to address the issue. 

John Seibels, a spokesperson for the House Natural Resources Committee, which is one of the committees that led the legislation, told The Hill “we’re continuing to hammer out amendments and are working with each member to ensure a full vote of support for HR 1.”

While the legislation on the whole is not expected to move beyond the House, there are also ongoing bipartisan talks related to speeding up energy and infrastructure projects — also known as permitting reform. Some of the Republican ideas in H.R.1 could end up in a future bipartisan agreement. 

Emily Brooks contributed. 

Tags Joe Biden Matt Gaetz Steve Scalise Vern Buchanan

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