Energy & Environment

Reconciliation measure including repeal of Arctic refuge drilling advances

Greg Nash

The House Natural Resources Committee advanced its portion of the reconciliation bill in a party-line vote late Thursday. 

The committee’s $25.6 billion slice of the $3.5 trillion Democratic spending bill includes a repeal of a requirement to sell leases for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ban offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. 

It advanced out of the committee by a 24-13 vote. 

The measure would raise money by increasing the royalties that fossil fuel companies pay to drill on federal lands and in federal waters and by creating a royalty payment for hard rock mining. 

And it would spend money on the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps jobs program. 

The approval came after two days of hearings on the legislation — a nearly 9-hour session last week and a 9.5-hour session this week. 

According to a Democratic committee spokesperson, the version of the legislation that was ultimately adopted includes nine Republican amendments. 

In a statement, Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), noted the importance of the bill for the environment. 

“We’re facing serious economic and environmental challenges, and today this Committee addressed them with major investments across the board that will build a more sustainable economy,” he said. 

The reconciliation measures are seen as one of the best chances for Congress to get major climate action across the finish line, as it only requires 50 votes to pass the Senate. 

But since no Republicans are expected to support the bill, no Democrat can defect for it to pass. 

The legislation’s ultimate outcome largely hinges on the support of moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who threw uncertainty into the process when he recently called for a “pause” to more closely look at the spending bill.

Tags Arctic drilling Joe Manchin spending bill

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