Politics

GOP Energy Agenda: Build Keystone, Stop The EPA

Republican lawmakers have released a new energy strategy to boost counter President Barack Obama’s climate agenda. The main points of the plan: build the Keystone XL pipeline and other projects like it and prevent the EPA from over-regulating.

“Our energy realities have changed dramatically – we’ve gone from bust to boom practically overnight,” GOP Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan Ed Whitfield of Kentucky said in a statement. “Today’s energy policies are lagging far behind, and are better suited for the gas lines in the 1970s than this new era of abundance.”

The strategy, called the “Architecture of Abundance,” urges Congress and the president to pass laws that enhance energy security, keep prices down and shepherd a manufacturing resurgence. The plan also includes calls for reforming the energy project permit process; keeping prices affordable; and stopping EPA global warming regulations.

“By modernizing our infrastructure, empowering a 21st Century energy workforce, strengthening our energy diplomacy, and promoting more efficiency and accountability, we can lay the foundation for a forward-looking national energy strategy that truly embraces our energy abundance and its boundless benefits,” Upton sand Whitfield said. “Most importantly, saying yes to energy will create jobs, keep costs down for all Americans, and boost our energy security.”

Republican’s energy strategy comes as the House is preparing to vote on a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline later this week. The Senate passed the Keystone bill earlier this month over a White House veto threat.

The pipeline has become a major battleground for Republican lawmakers and the Obama administration. Republicans and some Democrats want to see the pipeline approved, saying it would promote energy security and create jobs. Obama, on the other hand, has downplayed the economic benefits of the project and said he will only approve it if it doesn’t impact global warming.

Despite the clash over the pipeline, both Obama and Republicans have said they want to move forward with infrastructure projects.

“21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this,” Obama said in his State of the Union speech this year. “So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.”

This GOP plan could be a signal to Obama that the party is ready to talk energy infrastructure. On the Senate side, Republicans and Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee has expressed support for a new bill to fund highways and transportation programs.

But these areas of tepid agreement may be overshadowed by the battle over the EPA’s climate regulations on power plants. Both chambers of Congress have promised to challenge the agency on its rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The Republican-controlled Environment and Public Works Committee will be holding a hearing Wednesday on the EPA’s power plant regulations. House lawmakers have also promised more hearings on the EPA’s climate rule and agency rules targeting methane emissions.

“The president’s ‘War on Fossil Fuels’ and nuclear energy is most evident in his unbridled mandates being issued by the EPA,” said Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who also chairs EPW.

“The President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade,” Inhofe warned.

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