Friday, December 19th, 2014

GOP Pledge-O-Meter

Increase access to domestic energy sources


Will "fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national 'cap and trade' energy tax."


Subjects: Energy

Updates

House successfully opposes cap-and-trade, other initiatives fail

House Republicans pledged to oppose a national cap-and-trade law, and fight to increase access to domestic energy sources.

Their cap-and-trade effort we"ve rated a Promise Kept (while President Barack Obama earned a Promise Broken).

But the pipeline for the House"s domestic energy agenda got blocked by a Democratic Senate.

"To date, Senate Democrats have taken no action on H.R. 910 or any of the other House-passed energy and jobs bills,” says the Republican website tracking House progress on its Pledge to America.

That includes efforts such as H.R. 6080, "Congressional Replacement of President Obama's Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan,” which would have increased oil and natural gas lease sales, and a seven-bill package called the Domestic Energy & Jobs Act boosting leases on federal land, streamlining permits and developing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, among other things.

Republicans held off a national cap-and-trade plan, but their other energy efforts yielded little. We rate this promise a Compromise.

Sources:

Email interview with David Popp, spokesman, House Republican Conference, Nov. 15, 2012

Speaker.gov, "Keeping the Pledge to America: How Republicans Have Fought to Create Jobs, Cut Spending, & Change the Way Congress Does Business," Sept. 20, 2012

Speaker.gov, "GOP ACTION REPORT: Expanding America"s Energy Production to Help Address High Costs & Create Jobs," Aug. 15, 2012

Cap-and-trade opposed, increased access faces obstacles

The Republican Party vowed to oppose cap-and-trade in its Pledge to America campaign document. We previously rated this GOP pledge as Promise Kept. Simply put, any tax increase -- which is what Republicans argue cap-and-trade amounts to -- is a political non-starter in the current Congress.

But what of the second half of this promise is to increase access to domestic energy sources? In May 2011, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed three bills as part of their American Energy Initiative. This initiative is the House Republicans" plan to combat high energy prices while simultaneously spurring job growth. They hope to accomplish this through the development and expansion of domestic energy sources.

Here, briefly summarized, are the three bills the House of Representatives passed in May 2011:

- Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act: requires the Department of the Interior to go through with pending lease sales of offshore drilling sites in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

- Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act: calls for stepping up offshore drilling by requiring the Interior Department to approve all permits within sixty days of receipt.

- Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act: repeals the moratorium that the Obama administration placed on offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico.  

All three pieces of proposed legislation are pending a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate. In addition to these bills, there are approximately half a dozen more relating to the American Energy Initiative at varying stages.

The Obama administration opposes the bills. In a Statement of Administration about the first two bills, dated May 5, 2011, it argued the legislation would undermine regulations put in place to prevent another disaster along the lines of the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act "would hastily open areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic to leasing, including requiring the Department of the Interior (DOI) to hold three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico using outdated NEPA analysis that was conducted before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said the policy statement. The Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act "would grant permits automatically at the end of this 60 day window, regardless of whether the applicant satisfied safety standards.”

There can be little doubt that the Republican Party has succeeded in its opposition of cap-and-trade. Meanwhile, last spring the House passed three pieces bills that would serve to expand access to offshore drilling. These three bills and others proposed in the energy plan face opposition in the Senate and the likelihood of a veto if they were to pass. Given these realities, we rate this promise as Stalled.

Sources:

House of Representatives Natural Resource Committee, American Energy Initiative outline.

Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230), full text.

Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229), full text.

Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R. 1231), full text.

The New York Times, "House Passes a Bill to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling,” May 5, 2011.

The Washington Post, "House passes bill to accelerate Gulf of Mexico drilling permit process,” May 11, 2011.

The Boston Globe, "House votes to expand offshore drilling,” May 12, 2011.

Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget, Statement of Administration Policy, May 5, 2011.