Rep. Bishop and Sen. Vitter Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Develop Energy, Create Jobs and Reduce Deficit
"Rising energy costs, unemployment and a $14 trillion national debt are among the biggest challenges that our country is currently facing. While President Obama and Secretary Salazar would rather point fingers and place blame everywhere but within their Administration, today we are taking a different approach by proposing common sense legislation that would lift redundant bureaucratic red tape to immediately allow for the development of our abundant domestic resources. This in turn will create thousands of well-paying jobs and begin paying down the growing deficit," said Bishop. "There is no reason that we continue to heavily rely on foreign and often unstable countries like Libya to meet our energy needs. This legislation seeks to shift the paradigm from energy reliance to energy independence."
This week, President Barack Obama refused to accept any responsibility for skyrocketing gas prices stating that "any claim that my Administration is responsible for gas prices because we've ‘shut down' oil production might make for a useful sound bite – but it doesn't track with reality." However, in early February 2009, one of the Department of Interior's (DOI) first priorities was to cancel 77 oil and gas leases in the state of Utah. Among other things, the 3-D Act directs the DOI to reissue all leases for projects it withdrew in 2009 in Utah.
"Yesterday, the president offered some vague platitudes, but no concrete plans to rein in rising gas prices, even as they climb toward $4 per gallon. Today, we're laying out a far different path by introducing our legislation. The 3-D Act would unleash our vast domestic energy potential to create American jobs, help free us from our reliance on foreign oil and begin to reduce our $14 trillion dollar national debt. Louisianians know how our domestic energy supplies can be a powerful job-creating force, and dozens of energy producers are willing and able to begin work quickly and safely to develop those untapped resources," said U.S. Sen. David Vitter.
Specifically, the 3-D Act:
· Directs the State Department to issue all permits necessary to move forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.
· Directs the Secretary of Interior to conduct a lease sale in each Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) planning area for which there is a commercial interest in purchasing federal oil and gas production leases. Considers the 2010-2015 planning area complete. It also directs the DOI to hold lease sales for areas in the Gulf and off Virginia that DOI has backed away from.
· Expedites the review process for permits to drill. Requires Interior to make a decision on APD's within 20 days or return to operator so that deficiencies in permit can be rectified within 10 days. Then gives Interior an additional 10 days to make a decision on the permit.
· Opens a small pre-designated portion ANWR to oil production and establishes an Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Alternative Energy Trust Fund, so that we pay for renewable energy development with our own money…rather than borrow from China. Funds do not move to the Trust Fund unless federal revenues exceed federal expenditures (balanced budget).
· Expedites Oil Shale resource development and leasing on federal lands.
· Expedites the environmental review process and requires federal agencies to use most expeditious environmental review process available until unemployment falls below 5%.
· Amends the Clean Air Act to declare that carbon dioxide and methane from agriculture or livestock are not pollutants.
· Requires EPA to do full economic analysis under Sec. 321(a) of the Clean Air Act and establishes that deficient economic analysis can trigger administrative review and further analysis.
· Prohibits consideration of the impact of greenhouse gas on any species of fish or wildlife or plant for any purpose in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act.
· Directs Interior to reissue all leases for projects it withdrew in 2009 in Utah and directs EPA to reissue the CWA permit for Spruce No. 1 mine in West Virginia.
· Prevents payment from the Judgment Fund to reimburse environmental NGOs for filing lawsuits against domestic energy production and domestic businesses.
The 3-D Act has already garnered support from the following organizations:
Americans for Limited Government- letter
Western Business Roundtable- letter
U.S. Chamber of Commerce-letter
Americans for Tax Reform- letter
Americans for Prosperity- letter
Western Energy Alliance-letter
An economic summary for the 3-D act can be found here.