What can Republicans do when they only control part of the federal government? Well, for one thing, they can start by not passing bad legislation. But more importantly, they need to begin communicating with the American people about their plan to grow the economy and fundamentally restore America – if and when they are privileged to control all levers of power in Washington. Although Republicans lack the votes to pass positive legislation this year, proposing bold conservative solutions will help win back the Senate and the White House.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) understand that energy is the foundation for economic growth, prosperity, jobs, a cheaper cost of living, and national security. Increasing our capability to produce more energy is the best jobs plan, the best anti-poverty measure, and the best way to protect American and our allies from petro-authoritarianism. That’s why he has introduced a new bill that identifies almost all of the impediments to energy production within our economy, and seeks to eliminate them.
Here are some of the key elements of the bill, the American Energy Renaissance Act (S. 2170 and H.R. 4286):
Eliminate Federal Regulations on Fracking: Shale technology coupled with horizontal drilling has created the biggest oil and natural gas boom in recent years. But up to 30% of all fracking wells are on federal lands and would be encumbered by new regulations the Obama administration is trying to foist on the fracking industry. Cruz’s bill would explicitly grant states the sole authority to regulate, process, and issue permits for hydraulic fracking, even on federal lands within its boundaries.
This bill would also grant states the authority to issue permitting for other energy exploration and development activities if they choose to exercise that prerogative. If states fail to act, this bill streamlines the permitting process for the federal government to issue those permits on federal lands.
Expand exploration and drilling: This bill expands drilling everywhere – ANWAR, Indian lands, Outer continental shelf, and other areas offshore.
Energy Exports: Energy production is a worldwide market and expanding our energy exports will not only create more jobs and wealth at home, it will weaken the power of the petro-tyrants across the world. This bill ends the ban on crude oil exports and streamlines the process for permitting exports of LNG and coal.
Permitting: This bill streamlines the bureaucratic process that encumbers projects and drilling permits and sets hard deadlines on issuing permits. Authority for approving projects would be consolidated and handed over to one authority instead of multiple agencies. It also sets deadlines on approving construction of new oil refineries, which haven’t been built since the ‘70s. Not only does this bill strip away the president’s authority to block the Keystone pipeline, it prevents future projects from being obstructed under any auspices of the Endangered Species Act.
Judicial Review: One of the big obstacles to expanding and utilizing our energy resources is the environmental legal defense industry, which has the ability and funding to encumber vital projects in endless lawsuits. This bill prohibits payment of court costs by the federal government and also charges a fee for the filing of an administrative protest to a permit application. It also sets hard deadlines on filing lawsuits and the length of time for the entire judicial review process.
Regulations and Mandates: The bill incorporates the REINS Act, which triggers a congressional vote to approve any major regulation that impacts the economy. It also bans the EPA from promulgating global warming regulations and treating greenhouse gasses as a pollutant. Most importantly, the job-killing, price-hiking ethanol mandate is phased-out and repealed after five years.
All Republican members of Congress and candidates for federal office should embrace this bill as our plan to create jobs and grow the economy. This is something that should unite all Republicans as we head into the midterm elections and ask the American people to entrust the GOP with control of the Senate.