On Thursday, March 30, 2023, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. The bill — the GOP’s energy policy and permitting bill — passed by a vote of 225 to 204, with four Democrats joining Republicans in voting to pass the bill and one Republican legislator voting against it.
Key provisions of the bill include the imposition of new time limits on environmental reviews for energy projects and limitations on climate considerations in permitting reviews, intended to accelerate the permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The bill also instructs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deem the exportation or importation of natural gas to be consistent with the public interest for purposes of applications to construct liquid natural gas terminals. The bill requires the Interior Department to complete quarterly sales of oil and gas, lifts a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands, and prohibits the President from declaring a national ban on hydraulic fracturing.
HR 1 also would repeal several provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, including the fee imposed on oil and gas methane emissions and the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund — a program designed to provide competitive grants to mobilize financing for clean energy and climate projects.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has stated that the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, but the bill’s proposed permitting rules may be a starting point in future negotiations with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who last year proposed his own plan to streamline permitting regulations.
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