‘The Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act’ (H.R. 4266 )

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — June 17, 2022

“to prevent energy poverty and to ensure that each at-risk community has access to affordable energy, the United States should ensure that laws relating to environmental and energy policy, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, do not have the effect of increasing the cost of energy for any at-risk community.”

It is time to play offense to put consumers and taxpayers first, while addressing inflation and fiscal imprudence. It is time for “social justice” in its rightful sense of preventing government intervention from hurting the most vulnerable–and everyone else in the same swoop. Yesterday’s post highlighting Derrick Hollie’s work in this area is an excellent start.

It is high time for free market energy reform in place of climate alarmism/forced energy transformation. A step in the right direction is Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act (H.R. 4266), introduced last year by Oklahoma Republican Kevin Hern. It identifies six areas of energy affordability and reliability: Electricity prices. Home heating prices. Gasoline prices. Motor vehicle prices. Natural gas prices. Household appliance prices.

The subject matter is more important today than when it was introduced in mid-2021. It deserves attention and support to get from proposal to law–and from energy-is to energy-ought.

Summary

This bill addresses energy poverty (i.e., insufficient access to affordable energy) in at-risk communities. An at-risk community is a community that is low-income, minority, rural, elderly, or Native American.

The Department of the Interior must report on (1) barriers to the ability of at-risk communities that live on or near federal land or tribal land to access reliable and affordable energy, including how the presence of adequate energy transmission infrastructure affects such access; and (2) actions that it and the Forest Service may take to reduce such barriers. In addition, certain executive actions may not be carried out until Interior conducts energy poverty studies for such actions.

The Congressional Budget Office must report on how a bill or resolution will affect the cost of energy for at-risk communities.

The Government Accountability Office must (1) analyze federal energy and environmental laws and regulations, and state renewable portfolio standards, to determine how such laws, regulations, and standards affected electricity prices, home heating prices, gasoline prices, motor vehicle prices, natural gas prices, and household appliance prices in at-risk communities; and (2) develop criteria to determine whether an at-risk community is experiencing energy poverty.

The Office of Management and Budget must review and publish each applicable energy regulation to determine if any regulation imposes, relative to the general population, disproportionate costs on at-risk communities.

———–

Text of Bill

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act”.

SEC. 2. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

It is the policy of the United States that—

(1) all citizens should have equal access to affordable and reliable energy to maintain personal health and economic security;

(2) the United States should mitigate the disparate impact of increases in the cost of energy on at-risk communities because such communities are more likely to have a fixed income and spend a higher percentage of their income on energy than the general population; and

(3) to prevent energy poverty and to ensure that each at-risk community has access to affordable energy, the United States should ensure that laws relating to environmental and energy policy, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), do not have the effect of increasing the cost of energy for any at-risk community.

SEC. 3. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR REPORT ON ACCESS TO RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE ENERGY.

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of the Interior shall submit to Congress a report that—

(1) identifies barriers to the ability of at-risk communities that live on or near Federal land or Tribal land to access reliable and affordable energy, including how the presence of adequate energy transmission infrastructure affects such access; and

(2) recommends actions that the Secretary of the Interior and the Chief of the Forest Service could take to reduce the barriers described in paragraph (1), including by—

(A) establishing lower fees or lowering other costs; (B) streamlining the approval of rights-of-way on Federal land and Tribal land; (C) encouraging private energy sector investment in Federal land and Tribal land; and (D) rapidly developing electric transmission and delivery systems in remote areas.

SEC. 4. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATES FOR EFFECTS ON ENERGY PRICES.

The Director of the Congressional Budget Office shall include in each applicable estimate required under section 402 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 653) an estimate of how the bill or resolution will affect the cost of energy for at-risk communities.

SEC. 5. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE IDENTIFICATION OF ENERGY POVERTY.

(a) Analysis.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an analysis of Federal energy and environmental laws, regulations issued by the Secretary of the Interior and the Chief of the Forest Service that relate to energy and environmental policy, and State renewable portfolio standards to determine how such laws, regulations, and standards affected the following for at-risk communities during the preceding fiscal year:

(A) Electricity prices.

(B) Home heating prices.

(C) Gasoline prices.

(D) Motor vehicle prices.

(E) Natural gas prices.

(F) Household appliance prices.

(2) REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the analysis conducted under paragraph (1).

(b) Energy Poverty.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall develop criteria to determine whether an at-risk community is experiencing energy poverty.

(2) REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report that—

(A) identifies, by location and type of at-risk community, which at-risk communities are experiencing energy poverty; and (B) provides recommendations on how to reduce such energy poverty.

SEC. 6. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET REVIEW OF ENERGY REGULATIONS.

(a) In General.—The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall review each applicable energy regulation to determine if any applicable energy regulation imposes, relative to the general population, disproportionate costs on at-risk communities.

(b) Publication.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall publish in the Federal Register the results of the review required under subsection (a).

SEC. 7. ENERGY POVERTY STUDY REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN EXECUTIVE ACTION.

(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President or a designee of the President may only carry out an activity described in subsection (b) if the Secretary of the Interior has fulfilled the requirements described in subsection (c) with respect to such activity.

(b) Activities.—An activity, as referred to in subsection (a), is one or more of the following:

(1) Declaration of a moratorium on the leasing of Federal lands for the drilling, mining, or collection of oil, gas, or coal, or related activities unless such moratorium is authorized by Federal statute.

(2) An action that would prohibit or substantially delay, with respect to Federal land, the issuance of—

(A) a new oil and gas lease, drill permit, approval, or authorization;

(B) a new coal lease, permit, approval, or authorization; or

(C) a new hard rock (including the list of critical minerals published in the notice of the Secretary of the Interior entitled “Final List of Critical Minerals 2018” (83 Fed. Reg. 23295 (May 18, 2018))) lease, permit, approval, or authorization.

(3) Withdrawal of Federal land from—

(A) forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; (B) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; or (C) disposition under laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.

(c) Requirements.—To fulfill the requirements described in subsection (a) with regard to an activity described in subsection (b), the Secretary of the Interior shall—

(1) conduct a study to determine if the activity, relative to the general population, is likely to—

(A) impose disproportionate costs on at-risk communities; or

(B) increase the likelihood that at-risk communities will experience energy poverty and job losses;

(2) publish such study on a public website of the Department of the Interior; and

(3) transmit a report on such study to Congress.

(d) Energy Poverty Study.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (3), upon request from an entity described in paragraph (2), a lead Federal department or agency responsible for leasing or permitting an energy or mineral development project, pipeline project, or transmission project on Federal land, in consultation with any other Federal department or agency with jurisdiction over such project, shall conduct a study relating to how such project is likely to alleviate energy poverty in at-risk communities, including by—

(A) creating jobs; (B) reducing energy prices; and (C) other relevant measures identified by the lead Federal department or agency or the requestor the study.

(2) REQUESTORS.—The following entities may compel a study by request under paragraph (1):

(A) The sponsor of the energy or mineral project, pipeline project, or transmission project on Federal land regarding which the study is being conducted. (B) A State or local government. (C) An Indian Tribe. (D) An entity determined appropriate by the lead agency for the relevant project.

(3) MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING.—The lead Federal department or agency with respect to the project to be studied under paragraph (1) may not begin the study until that lead Federal department or agency has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the requestor of the study. A memorandum of understanding entered into under this paragraph shall include—

(A) an agreement regarding a neutral third party to conduct the study; (B) a determination of what entity (with the consent of that entity) will bear the cost of the study, which may include stakeholders other than the requestor; and (C) such other aspects of the study that the lead Federal department or agency and the requestor consider appropriate.

[Definitions excluded]

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Walter Horsting
June 19, 2022 10:07 am

Taking into account productivity for the same power output the installation and running of:

Using Batteries costs $358 to store 5 CENTS

Vuk
Reply to  Walter Horsting
June 19, 2022 3:09 pm
  • Onshore Wind power is ~7 times the cost of Gas-firing

… and probably more than coal power generating.

Germany is to reopen mothballed coal power plants to combat high gas prices, piling pressure on Boris Johnson to cut taxes on household energy bills.
The German government will pass emergency laws to reactivate the coal plants as Europe takes steps to deal with reduced energy supplies from Russia.
The announcement on Sunday came as part of a series of measures, including new incentives for companies to burn less natural gas.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/06/19/germany-curb-energy-use-serious-gas-situation/

RickWill
Reply to  Vuk
June 19, 2022 3:38 pm

Most lignite is not exposed to international trade so the price does not respond to the Chines demand for coal that is needed to convert Australia’s iron ore into steel to build wind turbines.

Burning lignite to make electricity is a very sensible approach if a country has heaps of it. One day nuclear power might be so low cost that it will displace lignite as the most economic fuel source – but appears a long way off.

Mohatdebos
Reply to  RickWill
June 19, 2022 6:37 pm

Nuclear power is already cost competitive if done right. South Korea is offering 1.4GW nuclear power at a cost of roughly $5.0 billion dollars each. They are building four reactors in Dubai, UAE. The first one is already connected to the grid. The second one will be connected by the end of this year. China has built a slightly smaller reactor, 1GW, in Pakistan at an even lower cost. They are planning to complete a second one by the end of this year. They have offered two more to Pakistan, but Pakistan has declined the offer because it does not need that much power yet.

Philo
Reply to  Vuk
June 20, 2022 3:45 pm

In a sane world erratic, overly expensive(>10%), hard to handle, and many other reasons, why electric power should be focussed on the cheapest, lowest tax, most intense forms within the bounds of safety- Natural gas, goal, electric damns, and oil.

again .

Nothing else will be effective long-term because it ignores the costs and only looks at certain particular effect. Does it kill Squirrels? Are all age group facing similar hardships? Which ones are the least expensive? Which are the least destructive to biome and provide the lowest “Overall” pollution vs costs and safety?

I’m sure other people can add reasons not to disturb huge quantities of poisonous substances and other wise dangerous products with a purpose of saveing a few pennies or even hundreds of dollars on an automobile, or a plastic bottle.

Scissor
June 19, 2022 10:07 am

Biden was going to send out gasoline gift cards but their aren’t enough chips to make them. Bwaah…

Rich Lambert
June 19, 2022 10:38 am

Another “we’re from the government and here to help” programs. I fear it will end up doing more harm than good. We need less, not more regulation.

Reply to  Rich Lambert
June 19, 2022 11:18 am

I see no regs, just huge studies. Maybe I missed the regs.

starzmom
Reply to  David Wojick
June 20, 2022 4:12 am

Therein lies the problem. Just studies, but nothing about doing anything to prevent the problems we already know are occurring. So no harm other than spent money, but no good either. In other words a complete waste.

Philo
Reply to  Rich Lambert
June 20, 2022 3:50 pm

I cannot think of ANY government program that is truly available at an honest cost.
Everything in the government seems priced to provide the highest overall tolerated cost, not the most EFFICIENT one.-

Last edited 1 month ago by Philo
Tom Halla
June 19, 2022 10:49 am

Brandon would never sign it.

Dr. Bob
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 19, 2022 11:01 am

Hopefully, after November, there will be enough supporters to override a veto.

Jeroen B.
Reply to  Dr. Bob
June 19, 2022 11:14 am

Hopefully after November, there’s a start with impeachment.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Jeroen B.
June 19, 2022 1:14 pm

On what grounds? Stupidity? Dementia? Poor judgement? Those aren’t grounds.

Then we’re stuck with Kamala. She’s more worthless than Joe. Can you see her standing before heads of state? They ask her a question and she just starts cackling uncontrollably until everyone leaves shaking their heads. Still, not grounds for impeachment.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  ex-KaliforniaKook
June 20, 2022 3:43 am

“On what grounds? Stupidity? Dementia? Poor judgement? Those aren’t grounds.”

On any grounds the Congress decides is aggregious enough to remove Biden from office. Dereliction of duty is sufficient to remove Biden. All it takes is enough members of Congress to vote to remove him.

Burgher King
Reply to  Jeroen B.
June 19, 2022 1:18 pm

Biden might be impeached in the House, but he will not be convicted in the Senate. Nor will he resign.

His job assignment from the globalists is to take the heat for the disastrous impacts of Build Back Better.

Unless he suffers another brain hemorrhage and dies in office, he will be president until at least January 20th, 2025.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Burgher King
June 20, 2022 3:48 am

“Biden might be impeached in the House, but he will not be convicted in the Senate.”

I wouldn’t be too sure.

It will be interesting to see the U.S. Senate makeup after the November elections. I don’t think Mitt or several of the other Republican who regularly vote with/enable the Democrats will be there next term.

Ruleo
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 20, 2022 2:34 pm

LOL you don’t know anything about McConnell or Graham.

There will be no ‘red wave’ btw.

2020 was never fixed. 2022 will be a bloodbath.

RicDre
Reply to  Jeroen B.
June 19, 2022 2:46 pm

Hopefully after November, there’s a start with impeachment.

You want Kamala Harris as President? Or if Kamala is impeached also and the Democrats retain the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi?

The only hope would be that the Republicans retake the House of Representatives, they pick someone sane to be the new Speaker of the House and they manage to impeach both Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris…that would be a very tall order.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Dr. Bob
June 19, 2022 2:06 pm

The US Senate is a big part of the DC Sewer. There are at least 4 RINO sellouts
& a dozen swill suckers who have a finger in the air to see how the wind blows!
You need 60 votes to override a filibuster & a 2/3 majority to override vetoes
& convict on impeachment. At most, they’ll only be able to limit the amount of
garbage getting pushed through. While this is going on, Brandon can write all
the executive orders he wants to!

The focus needs to be to repeal the 17th Amendment which would put the election of
senators back into the purview of state legislators. It served to counterbalance
Federal power. Using the Convention of States Constitutional provision may be the
only way to sidestep DC.

Philo
Reply to  Old Man Winter
June 20, 2022 3:56 pm

Congrats OMW for a brilliant idea- The Consitution- minus poisonous amendments. Just doing that would tie up the legislature for at least 4 years.

George Daddis
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 19, 2022 12:53 pm

No, but if the GOP had any political savvy, they would make a big splash about how Climate Joe is opposing affordable energy costs, like the Dems do with any Republican legislation.

If nothing else it it paves the way for future legislation if they get back in control.

June 19, 2022 11:15 am

So to begin with: “The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an analysis of Federal energy and environmental laws, regulations issued by the Secretary of the Interior and the Chief of the Forest Service that relate to energy and environmental policy, and State renewable portfolio standards to determine how such laws, regulations, and standards affected the following for at-risk communities during the preceding fiscal year:”

How many pages of laws and regs are we talking about? My guess is between 100,000 and 1,000,000. Every year? For how many communities? By an Office that has no expertise in energy or environment? Surely this is folly. Mind you I would love to get the contract!

Drake
Reply to  David Wojick
June 20, 2022 6:16 pm

Notice NO maximum time to do ANY of the studies and no PRISON time for the either appointed of civil servant responsible to ensure the study is completed failing to do so. Such crime to be a FELONY which by this law as amended would preclude the convicted from EVER gaining employment for the federal government or any contractor or provider of the Federal government or any entity who receives pass through federal funds.

So nice idea poorly executed.

Also open as to WHO pays for the studies, the Federal government should be required to pay. The applicant already MUST pay for an environmental impact statement, licensing review, etc. etc. The Feds should pay for the protection of the poor.

Many reading my recent comments will note I continue to ask the loons who support unreliables why they hate poor people. This bill would require someone in some undetermined timeframe to show how much the envirowacos hate the poor.

BUT it is essentially a one page bill, of which the Republicans, in taking over the Congress, should pass HUNDREDS to send to Brandon to make him veto them, and if blocked in the Senate by Dems, to be used against them in their re-election campaigns to paint them as the hypocrites they are.

Democrats have made it so that 1000 plus page bills obfuscate what they are really doing.

AndyHce
June 19, 2022 11:38 am

In general it seem so completely counter to the green religion’s doctrines that there is no chance of anything like this moving forward, logic and reason aside.

3/2/A, “establishing lower fees or lowering other costs” sounds extremely dangerous. By long established law, anything the Federal Government pays for, the Federal Government can, and will, regulate. This is an open ticket for wide ranging regulation of the lives of everyone who might conceivably benefit from the provision. Looking at Federal law in general, it is not hard to image 12 shelf feet of regulations on what everyone must do and not do every minute of every day, totally incomprehensible in general, and allowing prosecution at any bureaucrat’s whim.

J.R.
June 19, 2022 12:11 pm

At least someone is considering the financial consequences of federal policies and regulations. I hope more members of the House and Senate start taking this matter seriously.

Still, I think President Trump had the right idea: massive deregulation and the encouragement of free market activity. That eliminates the red tape and allows people to accomplish things.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  J.R.
June 20, 2022 3:52 am

“Still, I think President Trump had the right idea: massive deregulation and the encouragement of free market activity.”

That’s always the right thing to do.

Janice Moore
June 19, 2022 12:17 pm

The basic idea, promote data-driven, positive ROI/EROI, reliable, energy, is good.

However…..

As written, this bill would also make it easier for Big Wind and Big Solar to keep on slaughtering/incinerating birds and or bats.

Conclusion:

Needs a rewrite.

Mike Smith
June 19, 2022 12:35 pm

Not a chance. There are no votes to be won with this measure.

We will see lots of talk about energy poverty in the future however. The response will be checks paid out to individuals who qualify. That’s always a vote winner. Yes, all such programs are subject to fraud on a massive scale but funding the criminal classes seems very popular these days. That looks like the political win-win to me.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mike Smith
June 20, 2022 3:54 am

“We will see lots of talk about energy poverty in the future however. The response will be checks paid out to individuals who qualify. That’s always a vote winner.”

That would be a vote loser for me. I wouldn’t vote for someone who proposed to waste tax money on such a thing.

Philip
June 19, 2022 1:14 pm

I think the idea is that we all go back to the cave, but without the invention of fire. Instead, we’ll get to hang up a solar panel or two. The wealthy 10% and friends, and influencers and needful idiots will get to move about in them there whatchmacallsit, jet planes and motor-yachts.

CD in Wisconsin
June 19, 2022 1:22 pm

“[T]o prevent energy poverty and to ensure that each at-risk community has access to affordable energy,

************

If Congress wants to pass legislation dealing with the issue of energy, they should create legislation that gives reliable base load electricity sources priority on the grid. Giving priority to unreliable wind and solar only serves to destabilize the grid because it requires the base load plants (as backups) to wind up and down in response to the variability of wind and solar, correct?

I would call it the Electrical Grid Reliability and Stability Act or EGRASA. Wind and solar energy can be used here if is coming from storage batteries. Watch the wind and solar advocates go into fits of hysteria if legislation addressing this subject were to pop up in Congress — especially in California and other blue states. It would be a serious blow to their fossil fuel-free hopes and dreams.

They can pull the plug on subsidies for wind and solar while they are at it.

Peta of Newark
June 19, 2022 1:38 pm

No, just no.

H. D. Hoese
June 19, 2022 1:49 pm

“…National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act…” I recall long ago when government employees seemed more open there were discussions about how migratory bird laws could be constitutional in cooperating with other countries. Never followed the details about the constitutionality of all these laws, but doesn’t seem to be as much interest, maybe mostly competence, now with coastal development, whirlybirds, and others not immediately thought of, to protect migratory birds.

Olen
June 19, 2022 5:51 pm

First you have to get that monkey wrench out of energy production!

Andy Pattullo
June 19, 2022 5:54 pm

Even simpler – just vote out every politician who helped to get us where we are now on energy and environmental radicalism.

Drake
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
June 20, 2022 6:51 pm

Not so simple when liberal cities can carry ballots to their voters and ensure they vote the correct way.

The last election appeared to be the end of the secret ballot since “harvesters” can collect ballots after making sure they are CORRECTLY filled in.

Heck, ballot “harvesting” is the law in Cali and many other states, and was allowed by Democrat governors without the approval of the legislature in many states in 2020, in violation of the US Constitution.

Terry
June 19, 2022 8:10 pm

I like it – bring it on!

Ruleo
June 20, 2022 2:32 pm

Oh look, more laws, less rescission.

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