Executive Director, Washington Legislative Office, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network
Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG
Public lands, clean energy at risk
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on H.R. 1, a major energy package focused on fossil fuels. The sprawling bill would:
- Expand oil and gas drilling on public lands and in the ocean
- Speed the construction of polluting projects, including gas pipelines, while limiting the ability of the public, private landowners and states to weigh in
- Expand mining without requiring companies to clean up or compensate communities for toxic mining waste
- Exempt many sources of pollution, including petroleum refineries, from some Clean Air Act and hazardous waste requirements
- Undo bipartisan reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
- Lower the rates companies must pay for extraction on public lands and allow non-competitive lease sales
- Repeal programs that cut energy waste, including the Methane Emissions Reduction Program and rebates for energy efficient and electric home appliances.
The legislation introduced by Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana is co-sponsored by Reps. McMorris Rodgers, Westerman, Graves and dozens of other House members. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would increase the deficit by $2.4 billion from 2023-2033.
In response to H.R. 1, Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office released the following statement:
“This bill leads America in so many wrong directions at once, it’s making me dizzy. Instead of protecting the Great American Outdoors, it gives our public lands away to oil, mining and gas companies. Instead of cleaning up toxic pollution, it guarantees more drilling and more spilling, on land and in our oceans. And instead of slowing climate change or helping Americans save energy, it increases our dependence on dirty, expensive fuels.
“It’s 2023. We have so many better options available to us, from the sun shining down on our roofs to the wind blowing off our shores and across our plains. Congress should reject this outdated and unnecessary push to sacrifice our lands, waters and health in the name of energy production.”
Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG environment campaigns director, issued the following statement:
“This legislation hands taxpayers the bill for expanded fossil fuel extraction and toxic waste clean-up, takes resources away from global warming solutions, and limits Americans’ freedom to save energy in their own homes. Given how unpopular its provisions are, it’s not surprising H.R. 1’s authors also seek to limit public input and legal challenges to wrongheaded energy projects.
“Our over-reliance on fossil fuels continues to hold us all over a barrel. This bill looks for short-term fixes by doubling down on the energy sources of the past, but contains more hidden costs that we can count, including more energy waste, more pollution, and a more dangerous future for our kids and grandkids. To protect ourselves now and in the future, we need to think beyond short-term solutions and take steps to end our fossil fuel dependence once and for all.”