‘The Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act’ (H.R. 4266 )

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — June 17, 2022

“to prevent energy poverty and to ensure that each at-risk community has access to affordable energy, the United States should ensure that laws relating to environmental and energy policy, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, do not have the effect of increasing the cost of energy for any at-risk community.”

It is time to play offense to put consumers and taxpayers first, while addressing inflation and fiscal imprudence. It is time for “social justice” in its rightful sense of preventing government intervention from hurting the most vulnerable–and everyone else in the same swoop. Yesterday’s post highlighting Derrick Hollie’s work in this area is an excellent start.

It is high time for free market energy reform in place of climate alarmism/forced energy transformation. A step in the right direction is Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act (H.R. 4266), introduced last year by Oklahoma Republican Kevin Hern. It identifies six areas of energy affordability and reliability: Electricity prices. Home heating prices. Gasoline prices. Motor vehicle prices. Natural gas prices. Household appliance prices.

The subject matter is more important today than when it was introduced in mid-2021. It deserves attention and support to get from proposal to law–and from energy-is to energy-ought.

Summary

This bill addresses energy poverty (i.e., insufficient access to affordable energy) in at-risk communities. An at-risk community is a community that is low-income, minority, rural, elderly, or Native American.

The Department of the Interior must report on (1) barriers to the ability of at-risk communities that live on or near federal land or tribal land to access reliable and affordable energy, including how the presence of adequate energy transmission infrastructure affects such access; and (2) actions that it and the Forest Service may take to reduce such barriers. In addition, certain executive actions may not be carried out until Interior conducts energy poverty studies for such actions.

The Congressional Budget Office must report on how a bill or resolution will affect the cost of energy for at-risk communities.

The Government Accountability Office must (1) analyze federal energy and environmental laws and regulations, and state renewable portfolio standards, to determine how such laws, regulations, and standards affected electricity prices, home heating prices, gasoline prices, motor vehicle prices, natural gas prices, and household appliance prices in at-risk communities; and (2) develop criteria to determine whether an at-risk community is experiencing energy poverty.

The Office of Management and Budget must review and publish each applicable energy regulation to determine if any regulation imposes, relative to the general population, disproportionate costs on at-risk communities.

———–

Text of Bill

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act”.

SEC. 2. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

It is the policy of the United States that—

(1) all citizens should have equal access to affordable and reliable energy to maintain personal health and economic security;

(2) the United States should mitigate the disparate impact of increases in the cost of energy on at-risk communities because such communities are more likely to have a fixed income and spend a higher percentage of their income on energy than the general population; and

(3) to prevent energy poverty and to ensure that each at-risk community has access to affordable energy, the United States should ensure that laws relating to environmental and energy policy, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), do not have the effect of increasing the cost of energy for any at-risk community.

SEC. 3. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR REPORT ON ACCESS TO RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE ENERGY.

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary of the Interior shall submit to Congress a report that—

(1) identifies barriers to the ability of at-risk communities that live on or near Federal land or Tribal land to access reliable and affordable energy, including how the presence of adequate energy transmission infrastructure affects such access; and

(2) recommends actions that the Secretary of the Interior and the Chief of the Forest Service could take to reduce the barriers described in paragraph (1), including by—

(A) establishing lower fees or lowering other costs; (B) streamlining the approval of rights-of-way on Federal land and Tribal land; (C) encouraging private energy sector investment in Federal land and Tribal land; and (D) rapidly developing electric transmission and delivery systems in remote areas.

SEC. 4. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATES FOR EFFECTS ON ENERGY PRICES.

The Director of the Congressional Budget Office shall include in each applicable estimate required under section 402 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 653) an estimate of how the bill or resolution will affect the cost of energy for at-risk communities.

SEC. 5. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE IDENTIFICATION OF ENERGY POVERTY.

(a) Analysis.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an analysis of Federal energy and environmental laws, regulations issued by the Secretary of the Interior and the Chief of the Forest Service that relate to energy and environmental policy, and State renewable portfolio standards to determine how such laws, regulations, and standards affected the following for at-risk communities during the preceding fiscal year:

(A) Electricity prices.

(B) Home heating prices.

(C) Gasoline prices.

(D) Motor vehicle prices.

(E) Natural gas prices.

(F) Household appliance prices.

(2) REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the analysis conducted under paragraph (1).

(b) Energy Poverty.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall develop criteria to determine whether an at-risk community is experiencing energy poverty.

(2) REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report that—

(A) identifies, by location and type of at-risk community, which at-risk communities are experiencing energy poverty; and (B) provides recommendations on how to reduce such energy poverty.

SEC. 6. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET REVIEW OF ENERGY REGULATIONS.

(a) In General.—The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall review each applicable energy regulation to determine if any applicable energy regulation imposes, relative to the general population, disproportionate costs on at-risk communities.

(b) Publication.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall publish in the Federal Register the results of the review required under subsection (a).

SEC. 7. ENERGY POVERTY STUDY REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN EXECUTIVE ACTION.

(a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President or a designee of the President may only carry out an activity described in subsection (b) if the Secretary of the Interior has fulfilled the requirements described in subsection (c) with respect to such activity.

(b) Activities.—An activity, as referred to in subsection (a), is one or more of the following:

(1) Declaration of a moratorium on the leasing of Federal lands for the drilling, mining, or collection of oil, gas, or coal, or related activities unless such moratorium is authorized by Federal statute.

(2) An action that would prohibit or substantially delay, with respect to Federal land, the issuance of—

(A) a new oil and gas lease, drill permit, approval, or authorization;

(B) a new coal lease, permit, approval, or authorization; or

(C) a new hard rock (including the list of critical minerals published in the notice of the Secretary of the Interior entitled “Final List of Critical Minerals 2018” (83 Fed. Reg. 23295 (May 18, 2018))) lease, permit, approval, or authorization.

(3) Withdrawal of Federal land from—

(A) forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws; (B) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; or (C) disposition under laws pertaining to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.

(c) Requirements.—To fulfill the requirements described in subsection (a) with regard to an activity described in subsection (b), the Secretary of the Interior shall—

(1) conduct a study to determine if the activity, relative to the general population, is likely to—

(A) impose disproportionate costs on at-risk communities; or

(B) increase the likelihood that at-risk communities will experience energy poverty and job losses;

(2) publish such study on a public website of the Department of the Interior; and

(3) transmit a report on such study to Congress.

(d) Energy Poverty Study.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (3), upon request from an entity described in paragraph (2), a lead Federal department or agency responsible for leasing or permitting an energy or mineral development project, pipeline project, or transmission project on Federal land, in consultation with any other Federal department or agency with jurisdiction over such project, shall conduct a study relating to how such project is likely to alleviate energy poverty in at-risk communities, including by—

(A) creating jobs; (B) reducing energy prices; and (C) other relevant measures identified by the lead Federal department or agency or the requestor the study.

(2) REQUESTORS.—The following entities may compel a study by request under paragraph (1):

(A) The sponsor of the energy or mineral project, pipeline project, or transmission project on Federal land regarding which the study is being conducted. (B) A State or local government. (C) An Indian Tribe. (D) An entity determined appropriate by the lead agency for the relevant project.

(3) MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING.—The lead Federal department or agency with respect to the project to be studied under paragraph (1) may not begin the study until that lead Federal department or agency has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the requestor of the study. A memorandum of understanding entered into under this paragraph shall include—

(A) an agreement regarding a neutral third party to conduct the study; (B) a determination of what entity (with the consent of that entity) will bear the cost of the study, which may include stakeholders other than the requestor; and (C) such other aspects of the study that the lead Federal department or agency and the requestor consider appropriate.

[Definitions excluded]

via Watts Up With That?

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June 19, 2022 at 12:11PM

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