In a move to coalesce Republican energy demands, and move the energy debate forward, on February 27, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT-01) stated that they would introduce the Energy Production and Project Delivery Act of 2013.
The bill is intended to address three pressing policies: (1) Energy: by “unleashing domestic energy resources;” (2) Employment: by “creating thousands of well-paying jobs;” and (3) Revenue Generation: by “generating significant federal revenues from energy production.”
Among other things, the bill would require the following:
- Opening presently closed areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”) for mineral leasing;
- Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (“ANWR”) for oil and gas production;
- Expediting judicial reviews of energy products on federal lands, and streamlining environmental reviews;
- Raising the share of offshore drilling revenues that coastal states currently receive;
- Preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (“ EPA”) from regulating carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) until China, India, and Russia also agree to do so;
- Requiring the EPA to do a “full economic analysis of the employment effects of EPA regulation under the CAA; and
- Expediting permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
This bill is already supported by, among others, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many other associations and groups. It also has many Republican co-sponsors. With this support, it is likely that this bill will pass in the House. What is less likely are its prospects in the Senate. However, with the federal government facing the fiscal pressure under the sequestration process, any legislation that increases federal revenues cannot be underestimated. Nor, in this economy, can any legislation that increases jobs. Finally, we note that a number of other representatives from coastal states, both Democratic and Republican, have previously supported efforts to increase revenue sharing from off-shore drilling. Republicans clearly hope that this legislation will benefit from these factors and become part of a final energy package signed into law by the President.