By Robert Bradley Jr. — March 31, 2023
H.R. 1 can be characterized as pro-free market and deregulatory. But it is only a start. Free market reforms will ultimately require repealing dusty old federal laws from the New Deal (Public Utility Holding Company Act; Federal Power Act; Natural Gas Act) and laws before and after…. At the same time, numerous states should implement free market reforms by repealing and amending laws.
The Lower Energy Costs Act just passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. Senate confirmation is not expected to pass it, and the Biden Administration has promised a veto. But it is a start, a placeholder, for pro-consumer, pro-taxpayer, pro-freedom policy reform to come.
H.R. 1, in the words of its sponsors, “restores American energy independence by:
- Increasing domestic energy production
- Reforming the permitting process for all industries
- Reversing anti-energy policies advanced by the Biden Administration
- Streamlining energy infrastructure and exports
- Boosting the production and processing of critical minerals
A summary of the Bill follows:
H.R. 1—sponsored by Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and co-sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR), and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO)—unleashes American energy and lowers costs for families.
Unleash American Energy:
• Prohibits President Biden from banning hydraulic fracturing
• Repeals all restrictions on the import and export of natural gas, including LNG
• Prevents liberal states from blocking interstate infrastructure projects
• Repeals President Biden’s $6 billion natural gas tax that would increase energy bills for families
• Rolls back President Biden’s $27 billion EPA slush fund for Democrat special interests
• Disapproves of President Biden’s canceling of the Keystone XL pipeline
• Requires the Department of the Interior to resume lease sales on federal lands and waters
• Repeals harmful royalties and fee increases imposed on energy production that drive up prices for families
• Ensures parity in energy revenue sharing for states with onshore and offshore energy development
• Requires publication of the 2023-28 offshore oil and gas lease sales plan/sets deadlines for future 5-year plans
Reform Broken Permitting Process:
• Reforms the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting process to streamline federal reviews for all sectors of the economy, including at our international borders
• Limits scope of environmental review under NEPA to reasonably foreseeable and economically feasible impacts
• Sets deadlines for completion of NEPA reviews at one year for environmental assessments and two years for environmental impact statements
• Provides certainty by imposing a 120-day deadline on filing litigation on final agency actions concerning energy and mining projects
• Requires that certain low-impact activities and activities in previously studied areas on public lands are not major federal actions under NEPA
• Ends the abuse of the water quality certification process by streamlining the permitting process under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and limiting review to water quality impacts only
• Enhances America’s ability to develop critical energy resources by improving the environmental permitting processes at critical minerals refining and process facilities
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise stated:
“For the last two years, President Biden and his extremist friends in Washington have waged a war on American energy, and hard-working families across the country are paying the price. Gas and utility costs have skyrocketed to record highs, with the average American paying over 40 percent more for gas at the pump since President Biden took office…. The Lower Energy Costs Act … will show the country how to end the war on American energy, become energy independent again, and lower costs for hard-working families who are struggling under the weight of President Biden’s radical agenda. I
Speaker Kevin McCarty:
Last Congress, House Republicans established our Energy, Climate, and Conservation Task Force to develop energy policies that meet the real needs of our constituents and our country. H.R. 1, The Lower Energy Costs Act, is a culmination of that promise. This bill counters President Biden’s attack on our domestic energy, and includes permitting reforms that will speed construction for major infrastructure projects across the country. [W]e now have a bill that will grow our economy, strengthen our national security, and ensure clean, affordable, American energy can power the world.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers:
From the gas station to the grocery store, President Biden’s war on energy is making life unaffordable for the hardworking people of this country and forcing us to be dangerously reliant on supply chains controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. We must reverse course. H.R. 1 boosts energy production, lifts regulatory burdens for the construction of more energy infrastructure, cuts China out of our critical materials supply chains, and lowers costs across the board. All of this will ensure we build a better and more secure future in America.”
House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman:
Energy security is national security. Republicans are delivering on our promises to the American people by unleashing the full power of our energy and minerals, cutting permitting delays, creating jobs, growing our economy, and dealing a blow to China and Russia. At long last, H.R. 1 will give Americans the tools to tap into our resources and build stronger, more resilient communities than ever before. When families no longer have to worry about how they’ll afford to fill up their gas tanks or turn on a light switch, they have the necessary breathing room to invest in our economy…. We are taking back control, putting America first and unlocking access to the cleanest, safest energy production the world has ever seen.”
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves:
Addressing America’s ongoing energy crisis is one of the most important actions this Congress can take. The last thing we need is to be dependent on foreign energy, especially when we can produce and distribute energy here in the United States and maintain our environmental standards at the same time. This legislation will prevent federal water regulations from being hijacked and weaponized to block important energy projects, and I’m proud to have the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s work included as part of H.R. 1’s commonsense and comprehensive approach to solidifying our energy independence.”
H.R. 1 can be characterized as pro-free market and deregulatory. But it is only a start. Free market reforms will ultimately require repealing dusty old federal laws from the New Deal (Public Utility Holding Company Act; Federal Power Act; Natural Gas Act;) and laws before and after. The U.S. Department of Energy needs to be abolished with its non-civilian functions transferred to other agencies. At the same time, numerous states should implement free market reforms by repealing and amending laws. And last but not least, the United States should withdraw from the (failed) Paris Climate Accord to reverse the international pressure for anti-energy policies.
The real problem are Republican squishes. HW Bush was not very good on energy policy, despite how bad Al Gore would have been.
The true way to halt all this BS is to ENFORCE the constitution of the USA. The folks elected to congress who have hearings about anything like this should be instead starting actual legal challenges to policies, bureaucracies and executive orders that legislate unconstitutionally.
The legal challenge must rest on the ‘consent of the governed’ and must also challenge the unconstitutionality of federal agencies that have usurped the legislative, judicial and executive authority. Unfortunately that has not happened.
Time for Schedule F. See:
The insanity has a crazy, Alice in Wonderland, beauty about it
As I understand, reading it quickly at 2 in the morning, the Pendleton Act created the Deep State so as to prevent any future president from being assassinated.
And now, 140 years later, we witness the Deep State has itself, assassinated the president. That it has become the very thing it was supposed to protect the country against
Is that Pournelle’s Iron Law in action but nothing new.
= what we were all laughing at in the UK TV ‘comedy” series “Yes Minister)
And that via Climate Change and in attempts to preserve itsell, the Deep State is going to assassinate the whole rest of the world – because that’s the way its steering Ukraine right now.
The Pendleton Act did away with the ‘spoils system’ under which every incoming administration would fire incumbent Federal employees in favor of hiring their own supporters, presumably because a disgruntled job seeker did indeed assassinate a newly elected President Garfield.
Back in those simple times it was undoubtedly a well intended reform, which I’m sure has probably since prevented subsequent Presidents from putting innumerable idiots and mediocrities on the Federal payroll. Unfortunately, as the scope of the Federal government has vastly expanded, it also had the effect of shielding those bureaucrats that make and enforce policy from political accountability.
Absent such accountability, you end up with an un-elected and un-appointed ‘deep state’ whose members’ allegiance unsurprisingly and overwhelmingly favors the political party that is most disposed towards increasing the size and scope of the Federal government. (Hint: Begins with a “D”). The idea of ‘Schedule F’, then, is simply to allow an administration to move forward with the policies for which it was presumable elected without being sabotaged at every stage.
The Left has found away around the intent of the Act; just add more of your folks to the existing cohort, i.e. “packing” the bureaucracy just as they wish to do with SCOTUS.
wow frank thanks for the link. did not know he had done that.
That EO tried by Trump is what’s needed, but it should be issued by congress. which of course would take tarring and feathering on a massive scale before it would happen.
Actually, no attention/coverage has occurred for this profound fundamental change in natural gas in storage the past 6+ months.
Note the blue line on the included graph. We went from a deficit vs the prior year of -349 BCF in early September 2022 to a surplus of 504 BCF on the March 23, 2023 report. +853 BCF added to storage compared to the previous year in just over 6 months! It’s very hard to comprehend how such a thing is even possible without some sort of profound intervention to stimulate natural gas production by a powerful entity.
I contend that at least part of it was so that the United States can ramp up exports to Europe to replace the lost natural gas after Biden blew up the Russian gas line, Nordstream 2.
natural gas prices are down 80% from the highs last Summer with a glut in supply and over production……..until exports to Europe this year increase the demand base and soak up the over production.
Here’s the 1 year price chart showing the incredible plunge lower because of the record production/supplies gushing in the last 6+ months.
The three main reasons gas went very rapidly from a shortage to a surplus were 1. Freeport LNG facility went down in June of 22. Feds dragged their feet in allowing restart- In total about 500B of gas hit storage that should have been shipped out as LNG 2. North America had a warm winter which resulted in significantly lower heating use. 3. US gas production is up 5-7B per day v. a year ago. A perfect storm trifecta that resulted in the fastest drop in gas prices ever recorded in the US market.
Parts of North America had a warm winter perhaps, but not the west. We have been between 1 and 4 degrees colder than 1981-2010 normals since November. Some estimates are running as high as 80% mortality of big game animals in places. Highways closed due to wind and deep snow for 24 of 28 days in February in central Wyoming. Reached -20 and below three separate times since Christmas.
We’d have all died out here but for diesel, natural gas, and coal.
As mild as it’s been in the East, it’s been just as cold in the West as you noted.
The amount of nat gas in storage in the Pacific is extremely low and in the Mountain region is below the level of many previous years.
Sustained Cold temps this Winter in those regions!
Thanks very much, Windsong,
Those are all wonderful explanations.
Freeport exports averaged 1.77 Bcf/d before the explosion, which is almost 20% of our total export capacity. Multiply that over 8 months (partial restart in Feb.) and that’s pretty close to the 500 Bcf that you mentioned.
The previous record for 100+ Bcf injection weeks in the Fall had been 2.
In 2022, we had an incredible 6 weeks with injections of 100+ Bcf!
Also an astute observation with regards to unusually mild Winter weather in the high population areas of the East and South that consume the most natural gas for residential heating.
Some amazing positive temperature anomalies for such a long period, 3 months. Dec-Jan-Feb!
Look at the historic crash in prices on the 30+ year chart of natural gas:
Only outdone by 2 other events.
This action to put countries own energy production an development as a priority should be every countries aim.
Unfortunately in many countries it is the last item discussed in governments because of the false threat of climate change .
Our now departed Prime minister Jacinda Ardern on being elected declared a ban on all new exploration and development of oil and gas fields of the New Zealand coast .
It was then voted into law .
This makes no sense as she flew around the world and back and forwards from Auckland to Wellington many times . Any one that advocates restricting oil and gas production should stop using any fuel and any article made from oil or gas .
Of course they don’t but they expect every one else to cut back.
As I have written before natural gas is absolutely essential to feed the world because urea and other nitrogenous fertilizer is manufactured with gas.
Half of the worlds population is fed with the extra food grown with nitrogenous fertilizer .
That is 4 billion people who would starve if natural gas was banned but politicians just shrug this off .
These anti fossil fuel policies make countries poorer but the reduction in world fossil fuel use is not happening as manufacturing is moving to Asia .
Coal production and use has now exceeded 8 billion tonnes with China now using 5.3 billion tonnes which is more than was used in 2008 by the whole world .
Soaring costs of fuel, food and electricity are hurting the working class in many countries with little if any reduction of emissions world wide .
Just curious- and knowing nothing about this- what is the potential of our European allies to produce energy- coal, oil, gas. Is there really much there just not being exploited?
Worldometers says Germany has the 6th largest coal reserves in the world at almost 40 billion tonnes and puts the UK at 61st with 77m tonnes. Euracoal, meanwhile say UK total resources could be as high as 187b tonnes. Poland has a lot of lignite some of which it burns to help out Germany every now and then.
Worldometers ranks 1. US, 2. Russia, 3. Australia 4.China 5. India.
In Europe Germany (6), Poland (9), Serbia (14), Hungary (11), Greece (23), Bulgaria (24), Bosnia-Hercegovina (25) and Spain (30)all come in the top 30.
The entire situation these days is very sad. I have so many friends, family members and customers that are “forever” liberal democrat voters; and they are decent people that honestly believe that they are doing the right thing (ie support of net zero, increasingly more socialist policies, a “ world without borders” etc etc.). They even think going outside the rule of law or the “weaponization “of the justice department is justified to save the world from those MAGA “insurrectionist” that believe in that musty old racist US constitution ( sarc).
But for those of us that have studied well- history, economics, political systems throughout history- we know this ends in only one way. Catastrophe