This week, the House of Representatives is beginning debate on House Republican’s newly proposed Continuing Resolution for 2011 funding. Among the nearly $100 billion in spending cuts that this bill includes (a number that could potentially grow under open floor rules) are significant steps towards reigning in the Federal government’s role in regulating our nation’s energy economy. A recent New York Times article laid out many of the energy related cuts included in the CR. Importantly, the CR targets several of the Obama Administration’s favorite burdensome regulatory measures currently being undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CR includes a $3 billion overall cut in the agency’s budget.
One area of the EPA’s budget facing elimination for the remainder of the year is their effort to singlehandedly regulate carbon dioxide emissions, despite the Administration and Congressional Democrat’s repeated inability to pass the same type of regulations through Congress. In late 2010, the EPA announced plans to regulate the emission of greenhouse gasses from stationary sources, including power plants and oil refineries. This project has been a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s energy policy, to such a large degree that the President has previously threatened to veto any legislation that would take away the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.
Protecting the American people from the onerous regulation of carbon dioxide emissions is not the only benefit that comes from slashing the budget of the EPA. Cutting their overall budget will hopefully slow their ability to dictate access to energy development through the revocation of permits in West Virginia and Alaska. Among several other cuts to the EPA budget, as laid out in a New York Times article, are $7 million from the Global Change climate research program, and $10.5 million from the Energy Star program. It also prevents the President from filling the position of “climate and energy czar.”
The CR does not stop with the EPA when it comes to slowing the Federal government’s stifling interference in the energy sector. Some other positive developments include preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from controlling energy access by placing protections on public lands that have not received a formal “wilderness” designation. It cuts $500 million of American taxpayer money from the President’s 2011 request to fund World Bank projects sending money to developing nations in hopes of promoting “clean energy” economies. Finally, it would trim $893.2 million from the Energy Department’s Office of Science, which directs funding towards energy research projects favored by Federal bureaucrats rather than the free market.
The recently proposed Continuing Resolution is a complete step in the right direction when it comes to ending Federal intrusion in the energy economy. It not only saves the taxpayers billions of dollars, but allows for a larger role to be played by the free market in determining America’s energy future.