Looking to rein in an already out of control and unaccountable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and aloof Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin its mark-up tomorrow of H.R. 1582, Energy Consumers Relief Act and H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. Less than a month ago, President Obama unveiled his second term energy agenda in a speech at Georgetown University that will empower the government agency to set broad and costly measures on job creators and energy producers. Fortunately, the House has opted to go a different route.
The Energy Consumers Relief Act will require the EPA to provide a detailed cost benefit analysis of rules costing more than a $1 billion dollars and seek input from the Secretary of Energy on new rules. One of the ways the EPA downplays the cost of its regulations is by not accounting for their compounding effect on consumers and energy producers. Forcing the EPA to accurately calculate the effect of its regulations is not only a commonsense transparency measure, but will protect consumers from the agency’s billion-dollar regulations.
The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act will require the FERC to approve or deny a certificate for public convenience and necessity within one year of public notice of the application. This legislation does not require FERC to approve all natural gas pipelines, but provides regulatory certainty to developers in the form of a regulatory backstop.
The United States possesses vast potential when it comes domestic energy. While the President continues to look for ways to increase the cost of energy and thereby swell the unemployment lines, the House has passed numerous energy bills that create jobs, reduce burdensome regulation, and promote domestic energy production. Perhaps the administration should try to do the same.