Barrasso: Reduce Energy Dependence on China & Russia

May 11, 2023

“We can pass bipartisan legislation that unleashes American energy and mineral production, creates good paying jobs, lowers consumer prices, and boosts our national security."

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered opening remarks at a full committee hearing to examine opportunities for Congress to reform the permitting process for energy and mineral projects.

The hearing featured testimony from Mr. Jason Grumet, CEO of the American Clean Power Association; Mr. Rich Nolan, President and CEO of the National Mining Association (NMA); Ms. Liz Shuler, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); and, Mr. Paul Ulrich Vice President, Jonah Energy and Member, Wyoming Energy Authority Board of Directors.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Thanks so much, Mr. Chairman for your very thoughtful remarks. Thanks for holding the hearing today.

“I think back to 13 years ago – 2010 – nearly two years after President Obama signed his economic stimulus bill into law, he seemed to be shocked to discover something that every project developer already knew.

“He said ‘there seems to be no such thing as shovel-ready projects.’

“That’s because it can take almost forever to get a federal permit.

“In the 13 years since President Obama’s comment, things have not really gotten any better.

“And under the Biden Administration, in my opinion and in many opinions, they have gotten a lot worse.

“Our federal permitting process moves in slow motion – too often, in no motion at all.

“Even if a project makes it through the thicket of red tape, it can expect to face years of costly litigation after the permitting process.

“The more time it takes, the more money it costs, the more likely a developer is just going to pull the plug and not proceed with the project.

“That means investments aren’t made. It means jobs don’t materialize. It means new energy and mineral production just doesn’t occur.

“Late last year, the Economist published this chart.

“It shows that for the past several years, more miles of interstate natural gas pipelines have been cancelled than have been built.

“More miles cancelled than have been built.

“As a country, we’ve become better at cancelling than at building.

“The result is what you’d expect: higher prices, abandoned projects, and stubborn inflation.

“It’s an absolute disgrace.

“Last week, Senator Capito and I introduced legislation to expedite the permitting process, while preserving environmental safeguards.

“The House has passed comprehensive permitting reform.

“Chairman Manchin has also reintroduced his bill from last year.

“So there is no shortage of ideas.

“That makes it all the more important to debate these ideas and move legislation through regular order.

“I’m glad, Mr. Chairman, you are committed to doing that.

“Because we have to get it right.

“Getting it right means adhering to some fundamental principles.

“First, the legislation must benefit the entire country – not a narrow range of

special interests, favored technologies, or a limited group of projects.

“Reforms must apply equally to all energy sources – traditional and alternative.

“Second, it must include enforceable timelines to ensure environmental reviews don’t drag on for years.

“Third, it must place limitations on legal challenges to prevent endless litigation intended to kill projects.

“Finally, it must stop the executive branch from hijacking the permitting process to advance its own narrow and frequently extreme agenda.

“No longer should the Biden Administration get away with reinterpreting legislative language to frustrate the will of Congress.

“Our amendments must leave no ambiguity in what the law requires.

“The bills that Senator Capito and I introduced last week meet these criteria.

“My bill – the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act – is cosponsored by every committee Republican.

“Our bill will revitalize America’s energy sector, lower costs for families, and reduce our dependency on China and on Russia.

“It will hold the Secretary of the Interior to her legal obligations on oil, natural gas, and coal leasing on federal lands.

“No longer should this or any other administration be able to deny, defy, and disregard the law.

“Our bill will ensure access to minerals essential for renewable and for battery technologies.

“The United States – and Wyoming, my home state, in particular – is blessed with large deposits of minerals.

“Responsible use of these resources enhances our national security.

“Lastly, Mr. Chairman, our bill will provide companies a more predictable permitting process for pipelines, liquefied natural gas export facilities, and electric transmission lines.

“Mr. Chairman, we can’t let this opportunity pass without enacting anything less than comprehensive reform.

“I believe we can pass bipartisan legislation that unleashes American energy and mineral production, creates good paying jobs, lowers consumer prices, and boosts our national security.

“Today’s hearing, Mr. Chairman, is an important step in that direction.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”