The EXPAND Act
February 14, 2014
A new House energy bill would bring more efficiency to the U.S. energy sector by peeling back regulations, says Nicolas Loris, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
The Energy Exploration and Production to Achieve National Demand (EXPAND) Act, sponsored by Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, aims to remove federal government interferences in the energy market. Loris lists provisions in the bill that would help the economy, including:
- The bill would open up federal lands to leasing, exploration and oil production in more areas, including parts of the Gulf, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). These areas have been closed to oil production, despite our abundant resources. In ANWR alone, an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil can be found under just a few thousand acres of land.
- States rich in energy resources on federal lands would be given control over their energy programs. They would still have to develop programs that satisfy federal law, but states could do so free of Washington bureaucracy. Private and state-owned lands have seen an explosion in energy production, while production on federal lands has languished.
- The newest energy regulations out of the Obama administration would essentially bar the construction of new coal-fired power plants, ultimately hurting the American consumer. Killing coal would lead to 600,000 job losses by 2023 without any substantial impact on temperatures. The bill would stop these regulations.
- Currently, agencies use a figure known as the social cost of carbon (SCC), which attempts to place a dollar value on the impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) on climate change. The model used to calculate the SCC is entirely baseless, and the Environmental Protection Agency manipulates the figures even more using arbitrary assumptions so as to make the SCC even higher. Energy and infrastructure projects are halted by an SCC figure that inflates alleged benefits of proposed energy-efficiency regulations. The EXPAND Act would stop the use of SCC.
- The bill would repeal the ethanol mandate, which requires that renewable fuels be mixed into gasoline. This mandate is unnecessary and has only caused economic harm. If renewable fuels are worthwhile, the government should not have to mandate their use.
- The act approves the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
- The bill reforms the process for refinery permits, making the permitting process more efficient. The United States has plenty of natural gas and crude oil to export, but slow and antiquated regulatory policy has prevented companies from maximizing those opportunities.
These are only a few of the provisions in the EXPAND Act. Releasing the energy market from these federal controls will not only generate more energy, but it will lead to job creation and lower energy costs for all families.
Source: Nicolas Loris, "10 Ways the EXPAND Act Would Take the Energy Market in the Right Direction," Heritage Foundation, February 4, 2014.
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