GOP Energy Agenda for 2023: Push Fossil Fuels, Search for ‘The Next Solyndra’ – POLITICO | NutSocia

In interviews, people familiar with Republican priorities say they will continue to focus on voter frustration over gasoline prices, which have soared over the past year amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the global economy’s recovery from the pandemic.

“Whatever big initiatives they have, they will focus on fighting inflation and energy costs,” said George David Banks, a Republican outside energy adviser who was former President Donald Trump’s key international energy adviser. “That’s the smart political move if you’re trying to build momentum and get more majority in the next election and try to get the White House back.”

Biden and Democratic lawmakers like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin still hope to pass permitting legislation this year that would make it easier to permit oil and gas infrastructure along with clean energy sources like wind and solar power. Republicans have deemed the Democratic plan too modest, and their own expected bill will focus on measures to reduce environmental assessments for all types of energy projects, speeding up permits for oil pipelines and natural gas export terminals, and mines to produce critical minerals used in electric vehicles and uranium fuel , which powers nuclear reactors.

According to a former Republican legislative adviser, Democrats’ allowing a push at the end of the year and Republicans’ appetite to update those rules when they’re likely to take control of the Hammers could help the two sides reach an agreement in the next congress achieve .

“The exercise sets the table for a compromise early next year,” said Alex Herrgott, president and CEO of the Permitting Institute, a nonprofit that served as a senior officer for Sen. Jim Inhöfe (R-Okla.) and provided technical advice to the congressional staff working on permits.

Republicans say the Manchin proposal, or a similar compromise that could emerge later this year, doesn’t go far enough to change the National Environmental Policy Act, the fundamental environmental law passed in 1970, which they see as a roadblock to build an energy infrastructure.

A senior GOP policy adviser to the House of Representatives acknowledged that Republican permitting legislation — modeled on a sweeping NEPA overhaul bill proposed by Rep. mansard tombs (R-La.) – would be a starting point for negotiations with congressional Democrats and Biden.

“You want to negotiate from a position of strength, not a position of weakness,” the GOP House senior adviser said in an interview. “We will present our best stuff. With that in mind, we’re realistic about what the Senate looks like.”

House Republicans also plan to examine how the Biden administration will use the $370 billion in clean energy policies Congress approved during the Democrats’ campaign. Anti-Inflation Act — although these GOP efforts could risk undermining investments in energy improvements that would benefit red states.

Republicans have claimed that Democrats’ climate policies have fueled inflation by slowing oil and gas production — although production of both has increased under Biden.

But while Republicans are heavily favored to take over the House of Representatives in November’s election, they could struggle to move legislation even in a scenario where they also gain control of the Senate. Any GOP majority in the Senate would likely fall well short of the 60 votes needed to overcome Democratic opposition, and Biden would be willing to veto anything that deviates from his agenda.

That means Republicans are unlikely to pursue broader ideas, like repealing the sprawling array of tax credits for clean energy development and production that lie at the heart of the Democrats’ climate bill. Any bill that makes it through Congress will likely be limited to minor measures supported by bipartisan quarters.

“There is a very narrow window to move anything. It will be a must-pass or clearly bipartisan,” said Christopher Guith, senior vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

The senior policy adviser to the Republican House of Representatives cited measures to boost nuclear power and critical mineral mining as potential areas for compromise with Democrats. The person added that the original Republican energy package, which focused on approval, will not be their only attempt to push the policy forward.

But Democrats fear that Republicans, even if they control only one chamber of Congress, could do significant damage to achievements that Biden’s party has made in advancing the president’s climate agenda. Biden wants to halve US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and put the country on the path to net-zero emissions by mid-century.

“My concern is that a lot of resources are being used to defend [GOP] political attacks versus resources and focus on the implementation of these historic laws,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) in an interview.

Republicans concede they don’t have the appetite to withdraw the big clean energy tax credits from the climate bill. Industry advocates say these credits provide long-term security for both renewable energy sources and emerging zero-carbon technologies who have gained traction in GOP-run states.

“Once these things are done, approved, and built in Republican states and districts, the enthusiasm for repeal becomes very difficult,” Sen said. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.) said in an interview.

Instead, Republicans are expected to oversee spending stemming from climate and infrastructure legislation. GOP lawmakers have already issued statements raising concerns about the implementation of the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, which received billions of dollars in new funding and powers, and questioning the renewable energy supply chain, which the law also strengthens.

washington republic Cathy McMorris Rodgerswho is set to chair the House Energy and Trade Committee if the GOP wins a majority, has described the influx of lending powers into the DOE’s loan guarantee program as “Solyndra on steroids.”

She was referring to the solar company, which collapsed in 2011 after receiving more than $500 million in federal loan guarantees, sparking years of Republican attacks on the Obama administration’s clean energy programs. Democrats have countered that despite its demise, Solyndra was only a small part of the $90 billion clean energy initiatives that have fueled a huge expansion of wind, solar and other renewable energy in the US

Former GOP Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who was the top Republican on energy and commerce before resigning last year, said his party has an obligation to review huge spending in the anti-inflation bill.

“Is it going out on time and in the right places? They look for overdevelopment and waste. They basically hold agencies and programs accountable to the law,” he said.

But Republicans will face a difficult balancing act as federal funding increasingly supports new types of energy projects in their own home states. The Biden administration’s loan program office has that, for example provided a conditional loan guarantee for a project in Nebraska that promises to convert natural gas into hydrogen, the company is eyeing to reduce fossil fuel use.

“It will be very interesting to see how Republicans balance a desire to investigate and find ‘the next Solyndra’ against the fact that Republican states and districts will benefit disproportionately from investment, construction and job creation that flow from what Democrats just did reconciliation,” said Colin Hayes, founding partner of lobbying shop Lot Sixteen and former Republican staff director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Upcoming Treasury guidance How to implement the provisions of the Climate Act for tax credits is also likely to subject the Internal Revenue Service to further Republican scrutiny.

Republicans, who control Committee Hammers, are also expected to scrutinize the Biden administration’s interactions with OPEC, which rejected US pleadings and voted to cut production by 2 million barrels a day. Recently included in the House Oversight and Reform Ranking Jacob Comer (R-Ky.) conducted a letter with other Republicans on the Board of Supervisors Requesting documents and information related to the government’s potential plans to ban oil and gas exports and the Department of Energy’s role in recent Strategic Petroleum Reserve disclosures.

Republicans say they plan to highlight how the supply chain for batteries and other critical components for green energy technologies depends on nations with poor human rights and environmental records, including China. The committees would also look at the government’s approach to domestic energy production and examine companies’ incorporation of so-called environmental, social and governance goals into their investment decisions, people speaking to POLITICO said.

Comer said in a statement to POLITICO that Republicans would use their majority to exercise “robust oversight” over the Biden administration’s policies. These include the “cancellation” of the Keystone XL pipeline and efforts to restrict oil and gas leasing to federal lands, as well as the way the Securities and Exchange Commission is “pushing President Biden’s radical climate agenda through regulation that lowers costs.” of goods and services to Americans.” The SEC intends to introduce rules that would require public companies to disclose their risks from climate change.

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