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November 22, 2013

House Votes on Energy Bills

The House passed pro-oil bills, while the White House threatens a veto.

The House passed three bills this week, largely along party lines, to ease restrictions on oil and gas drilling. The first bill aimed to streamline the permitting process by setting a 60-day deadline for drilling applications on federal lands. It passed 228-192 with 10 Democrats supporting the measure. The second, which passed 235-187 with a similar number of Democrats, would block the Interior Department from enforcing rules on hydraulic fracturing in states that already have their own regulations in place. The third bill, which passed with the help of 26 Democrats, would tighten the deadlines for rulings on natural gas pipeline projects.

These bills collectively seek to encourage an oil and gas boom that would boost the economy. As we noted Wednesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently announced that by 2015, the U.S. will top Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer and, in the next 20 years, will near energy independence.

But that all makes it a primary candidate for Barack Obama to oppose. Indeed, the White House issued a veto threat and the legislation stands little chance of reaching a Senate vote. Obama continues to hold fast to his claim that the federal government is helping the energy industry even though regulations continue to stymie any opportunities for effective development of America’s natural resources.

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