WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hosted a roundtable with Members of the Energy, Climate, and Conservation (ECC) Task Force on the Task Force’s latest policy rollout: ‘Let America Build.’ The roundtable highlighted bureaucratic obstacles related to the production of American energy, the deployment of innovative technologies, and the construction of infrastructure across the country.
Leader McCarthy kicked off the roundtable by discussing the important work of the ECC Task Force.
He said, “We’ve got some good news on the way, too. A number of you have been working to find solutions. I want to highlight Garret Graves for leading our Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force that so many of you have been a part of. And, as we’ve been going across the country to roll out other solutions to make America stronger from that aspect, we’ve got [to] ‘Let America Build.’ And I think across the country people would support that. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, you want to see America build.”
ECC Task Force Member Lead Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) highlighted the significance of the ECC Task Force’s latest policy rollout.
He said, “We’re releasing a component of our Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force [today] that’s called ‘Let America Build.’ Let America build. Take the handcuffs off. Let us go out there and implement solutions for energy, for infrastructure, and other challenges that are facing America today.”
Graves also stressed the need for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reform.
He said, “One of the biggest issues that we hear is the National Environmental Policy Act. This Act that is decades and decades old. When it was first enacted, it took months to actually get through and do an analysis to determine the environmental impacts or the environmental benefits of a project. Today, we’re seeing an average of five years, seven years for a road project, in some cases, in excess of a decade. I want to remind you, this is America. We are the country that has outworked every other country, we’ve got greater innovation, we are incredibly efficient here. But we’re imposing delays, we’re imposing bureaucracy on ourselves.”
Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), who serves as Ranking Member of the Committee on Natural Resources, slammed the Biden administration and Democrats for putting up unnecessary regulatory barriers.
He said, “We need to be a nation of builders, and we are a nation of builders. We’re a nation that’s always been one that can do, but we have an administration and we have folks on the Left that are saying, ‘You cannot.’ And one way that they do that is through the regulatory process.”
Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) discussed how the oil and gas industry in her home state is being hamstrung by bureaucratic red tape.
She said, “I hail from a state that is top five in oil and gas production, and we know how to produce here in Oklahoma. The frustrating part for many of the folks that are producing in my great state – a couple of which are here with us today – is the fact that they are being hamstrung whether it is pipeline permitting, whether it is pulling federal land permits, or delaying those permitting processes. At the end of the day, we have the ability and have in the past been American energy independent. And to that end we are also doing it in a clean, affordable, and efficient way.”
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), who serves as Chairman of the Western Caucus, discussed how the cumbersome regulatory and permitting process particularly harms rural America.
He said, “We are constantly and repeatedly working to reform our broken permitting system in this country. Every time I go home back to Central Washington state and I talk to farmers or business leaders – people are trying to accomplish things. They’re trying to build something. You know the reaction I get from people? The regulatory and permitting process is too cumbersome. It takes too long and it takes too much time. It needs to be changed. In rural America, we’re at the forefront of this. We truly are. We’re the ones that feed people. We’re the ones that produce the energy. We’re the ones that are trying to manage our lands. And we can’t do that under this burdensome system.”
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) noted how his legislation, the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, would streamline the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines.
He said, “The Permian Basin is a gift to the country. A gift to the economy. One of the problems that we encounter in the Permian Basin is more gas is produced than can be usefully exported. No one wants to see flaring. No one wants to see venting. But you’ve got to get it somewhere so it can be marketed. And permitting and siting of these interstate natural gas pipelines would do so much for unlocking the potential in the Permian Basin in getting that gas to a place where it can be utilized or liquified, exported, and as former Energy Secretary Rick Perry used to say, ‘It’s like exporting freedom around the world.’ So, that’s what [the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act] is focused on.”
Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) cited his legislation, the Promoting Energy Independence and Transparency Act, as a solution that would hold the Biden administration accountable for their consequential delays in the domestic energy permitting and leasing process while upholding the environmental review process.
He said, “Other than bad policy, the most difficult thing to do is navigate unpredictable policy. That’s what this bill that I’m doing – and many others are trying to do – is create an environment that allows for proper investment and operations that go on in the industry so you can do your job and not put the burden of American energy on the backs of every single American. Because that’s what’s happened over the last 18 months is the burden has been shifted directly to the American consumer when it didn’t reduce an ounce of emissions. The Promoting Energy Independence and Transparency Act is simple. We’re not asking to not do the environmental review. We’re asking once you do the environmental review you have 30 days. You have 30 days to issue the permit. We want it transparent. We want you to communicate how many [Applications for Permits to Drill] that are there and what your strategy is to do that. Giving the industry an opportunity to comply and build a plan looking out 10 years.”
Watch the full roundtable discussion here.
Read more about Republican solutions for ‘Let America Build’ here.
Note: This summer, the ECC Task Force is rolling out six key policy issue areas, including:
Build Resilient Communities