The White House warns that it would reject a House GOP energy bill that authorizes more onshore oil-and-gas leasing, restricts environmental reviews of drilling projects, and delays some air pollution rules.
The bill will likely pass the House this week, with debate beginning Wednesday, The Hill
reports. But it will almost certainly fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate, making the White House veto threat moot.
As for that threat, “This bill would favor an arbitrary standard for leasing in open areas over leasing on the basis of greatest resource potential; limit the public's opportunity to engage in decisions about the use of public lands as well as protests of oil and gas leases; raise the potential for costly litigation, protests, and delays; curtail the use of public lands for other uses like hunting, fishing, and recreation; and remove the environmental safeguards that ensure sound Federal leasing decision-making by eliminating appropriate reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act,” the White House said in a statement.
It also addresses the issue of air pollution rules. “The bill would undermine the longstanding principle of the [Clean Air Act] that air quality standards must be set at levels requisite to protect public health, based first and foremost on sound science,” the White House said.
Obama administration officials will urge the president to veto the legislation if Congress actually approves it, the statement said.
House Republicans, of course, feel differently about the bill. It “removes roadblocks to American energy production” and creates more “certainty” for oil and gas companies by preventing withdrawal of leases and other provisions, GOP leaders say, according to The Hill.
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