Ahead of the midterm elections, the House GOP’s Energy, Climate, and Conservation (ECC) Task Force created a six-pillar policy agenda built on the proven success of conservative energy policies—much like those that made the United States the world leader in reducing carbon emissions in the first place.
Last month, GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) gathered several Republican lawmakers, including Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Ranking Member and ECC Task Force Lead Garret Graves (LA-06), Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04), and Western Caucus Chair Dan Newhouse (WA-04), for an ECC Task Force roundtable to discuss one of their clean energy and climate agenda’s key policy pillars, “Let America Build.” In addition, industry leaders discussed significant regulatory hurdles that make it difficult to build new infrastructure in America.
The entire discussion can be viewed here.
Panel topics included legislation to reform the environmental review and permitting process established by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), which regulates construction projects from natural gas pipelines to interstate highways to nuclear reactors. In particular, the ECC Task Force seeks to reduce litigation and streamline environmental reviews without shortchanging the environment in order to bring major energy and infrastructure projects online faster and more cost efficiently. This is especially important when replacing aging, polluting infrastructure with modern and cleaner alternatives.
Cutting red tape is a bedrock conservative principle—and a key CRES value—which is why we strongly advocate more efficient approval of clean energy infrastructure projects.
“This is America. This is the country that has outworked every other country. We’ve got greater innovation. We’re incredibly efficient here,” stressed Rep. Graves. “But we’re imposing delays, we’re imposing bureaucracy on ourselves.”
Rep. Westerman explicitly contrasted the ECC Task Force policies with the Biden Administration’s practice of imposing additional barriers to building infrastructure.
“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,” he said.
Members of Congress participating in the roundtable took the opportunity to highlight some of their own legislative solutions.
Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26) explained how the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, would streamline the permitting process for interstate natural gas pipelines. Rep. Blake Moore (UT-01) pointed out that the Promoting Energy Independence and Transparency Act would hold the Biden Administration accountable for harmful delays in energy permitting and leasing through the environmental review process.
While environmental standards are obviously critical to conserve America’s natural resources, the participants agreed that our nation already has better protections than most other countries. Therefore, the most responsible way to reinforce conservation is to replace our aging and inefficient infrastructure in order to reduce our emissions. That is why it is so important to remove unnecessary obstacles to allow projects to move forward more quickly—let America build.
NOTE: The ECC Task Force has rolled out its framework for policies in six key issue areas, details of which can be found other CRES blog entries. This includes:
- American Innovation
- Let America Build
- Build Resilient Communities