Committee Republicans Pass Polluter Giveaway Bill to Fast-Track Dirty Energy by Ignoring Community Voices and Climate Change
Washington, D.C. – At today’s House Natural Resources Committee markup, the Republican majority voted to pass their Polluter Giveaway bill, the TAPP American Resources Act (H.R. 1335), introduced by Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.). No Democrats voted for the bill. The legislation includes Republicans’ so-called “permitting reform,” which guts our fundamental environmental and public health protections, namely the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in order to fast-track oil, gas, and mining projects.
A fact sheet on the most harmful provisions in Republican’s Polluter Giveaway bill is available here.
Committee Democrats introduced several amendments to rectify some of the most egregious provisions in the bill, all but one of which were opposed and voted down by the Republican majority. Amendments that Republicans voted against included:
- An amendment to strike provisions to codify reckless Trump-era attacks on NEPA (Grijalva)
- An amendment to prevent companies from mining on federal land if they have a record of human rights violations, environmental or cultural damage, or illegal mining abroad (Grijalva)
- An amendment to eliminate harmful mining provisions and replace them with mining law reform measures that protect special places, respect tribal consultation, and safeguard public health (Grijalva)
- An amendment to strengthen tribal consultation (Grijalva)
- An amendment to prohibit oil and gas leasing in certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (Huffman)
- An amendment to strike provisions on seismic testing that would harm whales and other marine wildlife (Huffman)
- An amendment to require sufficient bonding for oil and gas development (Porter)
- An amendment to prevent project sponsors from preparing their own environmental reviews if the sponsor has lobbying expenditures related to the project (Porter)
- An amendment to require a community health impact analysis as part of environmental reviews for oil and gas leases (Kamlager-Dove)
- An amendment to strike the provision allowing mining companies to claim public lands without first proving discovery of any valuable minerals (Stansbury)
- An amendment to strike provisions requiring unnecessary lease sales, as well as replacement sales if not enough land is offered (Susie Lee)
- An amendment to allow the U.S. Department of the Interior to extend the bill's shortened environmental review periods if the Interior Secretary determines that extended comment periods would improve project results or efficiency (Levin)
- An amendment to strike rollbacks of oil and gas reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act, including an increase of the minimum royalty rate (Levin)
- An amendment to add a title requiring meaningful, timely consultation with tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and Native Hawaiians (Peltola)
- An amendment to restore individuals’ ability to file lawsuits if they are bringing a claim related to public health (Velázquez)
- An amendment that allows for judicial review if a claim relates to environmental and public health laws (Dingell)
A Democratic amendment to ensure that offshore wind revenue sharing includes ports, offered by Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.), was passed by voice vote.
Ranking Member Grijalva’s opening statement for today’s markup is below:
In reviewing H.R. 1335, the center of attention at this meeting today, one thing has become very, very clear.
And that was that nothing much has changed over the years.
I don’t have a really good animal metaphor like the Chairman did about the bear. My staff did not prepare me with an animal metaphor. But if I was to have an animal metaphor, it would be H.R. 1335 is akin to inviting the fox into the henhouse in terms of what’s at stake here with climate change, the environment, and issues of health. Those are not only being put secondary in the legislation, but completely ignored.
Don’t get me wrong, the last few hearings that we’ve had here, we’ve had some surprising moments. Listening to multiple Republican colleagues invoke climate change as a reason to pass new energy legislation—that was especially interesting.
After the shameless climate denial that I’ve witnessed at this dais for 20 years, it was almost heartening to hear. A moment of clarity, or possibility for cooperation and bipartisanship.
But after seeing the legislation, this bill today, it’s clear to me that there hasn’t been a change of heart on this subject. They’ve just crafted shiny new arguments for the same, worn-out polluter industry agenda they’ve been pushing for years.
But it seems they realized—or perhaps more accurately, the industry allies realized—that if they start talking about clean energy development, that Democrats’ ears would perk up.
After all, Democrats are eager to keep the momentum going after we passed historic investments, significant investment in climate action and clean energy in the Inflation Reduction Act.
But sadly, it seems as if their climate change talking points are only—only—for performance, not an actual product.
Not only does this bill fail to even set any emissions reductions targets, it actively works against our climate goals.
It sets minimum quotas for onshore oil and gas leases, even if there’s no interest in those particular sales.
It makes dirty mining even dirtier by adding toxic mining waste dumping to the list of “best and highest uses” of our public lands.
And of course, it makes the fossil fuel industry’s wildest dreams come true by unleashing “permitting reform” on the National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA.
It’s hard to think of a law more critical, more instructive, in protecting us against climate change than NEPA.
The environmental review and public input processes required by NEPA are some of the most important guardrails we have for making major carbon polluters—like oil and gas refineries—safer, cleaner, and more accountable to nearby communities and our climate goals at large.
Yet, Republicans’ so-called permitting reform would codify former President Trump’s widely unpopular and extremist attacks on NEPA. One of those provisions would even block federal agencies from considering climate change in any permitting decisions.
Not surprisingly, when Trump proposed those particular attacks on NEPA—all of which are included in this bill today—140 House Democrats sent a letter to CEQ at the time strongly opposing those actions by the Trump administration.
I should also point out that, if my colleagues were serious about our clean energy future, this bill would do something to address the barriers to building more renewable energy transmission lines. It doesn’t.
If they’re serious about reaching across the aisle, they would’ve also made an honest attempt at engaging the Biden administration on the legislation.
Instead, they gave CEQ fewer than 7 full days to review and comment on the draft text of a bill that impacts more than 80 federal agencies. That’s less than half the time required by longstanding practice under both parties.
The simple truth is that this is neither a serious attempt at being part of the clean energy transformation nor working with Democrats.
Just add this bill—this performative permitting reform—to the long list of those kind of politics we can expect from the GOP majority. We’ve seen it for the last few months, and it seems to be a harbinger for the future.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you and I yield back.
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