Congress Takes On Energy Issues

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Federal energy policy took a turn to the right last week as the House passed a budget bill, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Interior got sued, and the Senate went on a marathon voting session.

Passage of the House GOP budget overcomes the first—and likely the highest—hurdle in Republicans’ quest to clear a unified spending blueprint through both chambers of Congress.

The House passed its budget in a 228-199 vote, with 17 Republicans voting against it. No Democrats voted for the GOP budget.

To secure the support of a large bloc of defense hawks, lawmakers altered the blueprint from Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R., Ga.) through an unusual vote on a pair of GOP budgets offered as dueling amendments Wednesday. The budget was amended to increase military spending and remove restrictions around a portion of its funding.

DOI Sued

The U.S. Department of the Interior released on March 21 its regulations governing hydraulic fracturing activities on federal lands, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America filed suit immediately.

“This federal mandate has long-been expected from the Obama Administration and IPAA has been engaged in opposing this effort at every stage of the process,” IPAA President Barry Russell said. IPAA and the Western Energy Alliance filed the lawsuit in federal district court in Wyoming.  They characterized the federal government's rulemaking as “unsubstantiated and duplicative of states' efforts.”


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