NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

How Will the New Republican Majority Tackle Energy?

November 6, 2014

With a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, what will the party do with respect to energy policy? Zack Colman of the Washington Examiner has compiled a list of the items he thinks will top the GOP's 2015 agenda.

Colman reports that the Senate has not voted on an energy bill of substance since 2007. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kty.) aims for there to be more debate over bills on the Senate floor when he is Majority Leader and for committee chairmen to have more influence. According to Colman, while the Senate will continue to be "more reserved" than the GOP House members, both groups of lawmakers will focus on energy issues, including:

  • Approving the Keystone XL pipeline. This will be a priority, though the GOP may not have enough votes (67) to override a presidential veto. 
  • Opening ANWR for drilling and ending the crude oil export ban. These are major priorities for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
  • Greater oversight of the EPA. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) heads the Environment and Public Works Committee and will likely scrutinize controversial EPA measures, such as the "Waters of the United States" rule and the agency's ozone regulations.
  • The Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA has limited development as well as drilling, and Senator Inhofe's committee may focus on how the act is being administered.
  • Defunding Environmental Protection Agency programs. The EPA's greenhouse gas regulations have a lot of opposition, and lawmakers may be able to muster up enough support to defund them.

These are just a few items that the majority will likely focus on. Colman also suggests that lawmakers will focus on funding the agencies that grant oil and gas drilling permits, finalizing review of Yucca Mountain as a safe storage site for nuclear waste and allowing drilling off the Atlantic coast.

Source: Zack Colman, "Here is what a GOP energy agenda will look like," Washington Examiner, November 5, 2014.


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