Bloomberg News

Energy Bill to Boost U.S. Output Passes House, May Die in Senate

June 21, 2012

The Republican-led U.S. House passed legislation seeking to increase oil production and stall Environmental Protection Agency rules, sending the measure to the Senate where Democrats probably will let the bill die.

The measure, which passed today by 248-163 vote, would require the U.S. to develop a plan to meet projected demand for energy, establish a federal review board to examine costs of EPA regulations and streamline the drilling permit process. It also requires the president to allow more U.S. drilling if oil is released from the strategic oil stockpile.

While the legislation is unlikely to win in the Senate led by Democrats, the vote today fueled the debate over energy policy and jobs that is an issue in the campaign between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Obama’s advisers have recommended a veto of the bill, if it is passed.

“This nation can increase domestic energy supplies, lower future prices at the pump, and create many more jobs,” by passing the bill, Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said yesterday during debate.

The Obama administration said the bill would “undermine the nation’s energy security,” weaken environmental protections and diminish the ability of the public to influence resource decisions.

Obama’s advisers would encourage a veto should the measure pass Congress, the administration said in a June 19 statement.

House, Senate

The two parties haven’t been able to agree on energy legislation.

House Republicans have previously adopted measures designed to boost oil production. Senate Democrats have instead sought to repeal about $24 billion in tax breaks to the five largest oil companies operating in the U.S.

“My belief is, have a debate,” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the third-ranking Republican in the House, said yesterday at Washington forum. “If they don’t like our idea, then what’s your idea?”

Democrats said the bill would endanger public health by blocking anti-pollution regulations, and was a giveaway to oil companies.

“This bill is the culmination of the Republican oil-above- all agenda,” Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said during debate yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Snyder in Washington at jsnyder24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net


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