Senate vote remains
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill set to boost U.S. energy production, lift the four-decade ban on crude oil exports and modernize the electric grid. The House passed the bill 249-174 despite threats from the White House to veto the bill.
In addition to allowing U.S. companies to export their crude oil, the bill would speed up the approval of natural gas pipelines across public lands. The move would hopefully prevent any future projects from going through a multi-year review process like the one seen with TransCanada’s (ticker: TRP) Keystone XL pipeline.
“The days of energy scarcity are long in the rearview mirror, and passing (the energy legislation) takes an important and necessary step forward,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the bill’s chief sponsor.
Democrats call the bill backward-looking
Democrats remain opposed to the bill, saying that it promotes the fuels of the past, rather than helping develop new fuel sources. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) claimed the central theme of the bill was “an unerring devotion to the energy of the past.”
The bill’s provisions “favor an energy policy dominated by fossil fuels and unnecessary energy use,” Pallone said. “It is the Republican Party’s 19th century vision for the future of U.S. energy policy in the 21st century,” he said.
President Obama has already threatened to veto the bill, saying it would undermine ongoing initiatives to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and increase energy efficiency. The bill also would curtail the Energy Department’s ability to fully consider whether natural gas export projects are consistent with the public interest and could hamper U.S. foreign policy, the White House said.
Proponents of the bill said lifting the crude oil export ban would create jobs, boost the economy and strengthen national security by taking business away from economic and political rivals such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela.