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Houlahan Issues Statements on Slate of Energy-related Bills

Houlahan’s amendment on permitting reform was unanimously adopted

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, released a statement following her votes on a slate of energy-related bills. 


“Republicans ‘Energy Week’ should have been an opportunity for Members of Congress to work together on passing bipartisan legislation bolstering U.S. energy production while safeguarding our environment,” said Houlahan. “Instead, Republicans brought forward a number of highly-partisan messaging bills that are dead upon arrival in the Senate. At a time when we need to be improving the lives of everyday Pennsylvanians and Americans who are struggling with high energy costs, I urge my colleagues to come to the negotiating table and put forth thoughtful bipartisan solutions like the amendment I authored.” 


Of the five bills, Houlahan voted in favor of one. Her full voting record can be found here


Houlahan also authored a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 7023, the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act. Her amendment, which she introduced alongside fellow Climate Solutions Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), was unanimously adopted. 


Watch Houlahan’s speech on her amendment here


“As the representative for a middle-of-the-road, commonsense community, I feel it is my responsibility to make every piece of legislation as bipartisan as possible,” said Houlahan. “Frankly, one of the bills we considered this week, the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act, faced some warranted criticism for a lack of clarity and certainty in its proposed changes. Uncertainty that would impact both industrial and clean energy developers and our communities. Nonetheless, in an effort to improve this bill’s chances of garnering bipartisan support, I put forward an amendment to study the impact that staffing shortages at the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have on permitting timelines. I was proud that my amendment was unanimously adopted, and I hope it serves as a road map for how Congress can come together for commonsense efforts.” 


Houlahan added: “Even though my bipartisan amendment was included, this bill’s highly partisan approach to permitting reform and lack of necessary community and environmental safeguards ultimately undermines the goal of developing durable, transparent, and efficient permitting timelines for industry and clean energy developers alike. For that reason, I did not support its final passage.” 




The group of energy-related bills voted on in the House this week included: 


H.R. 1121, which would prohibit the president from declaring a suspension on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, unless authorized by Congress, and expresses the sense of Congress that states should maintain primary authority regarding regulating hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production on their lands. Houlahan voted YES. 


“In prohibiting a sitting president from unilaterally suspending broad industrial activities that impact domestic energy production, environmental protection, economic and job security, especially in our Commonwealth, Congress can ensure that moratorium declarations are made under legislative oversight, incorporate thorough analyses, and are in the public interest,” said Houlahan. 


H.R. 6009, which would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to roll back its proposed 2023 Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rule. The proposed rule aims to update leasing rules on federal lands and raise royalty rates for oil and gas producers. In addition to directing BLM to withdraw its rulemaking, this bill would prohibit the Bureau from implementing or enforcing that or any similar rule in the future. Houlahan voted NO. 


“By forcing the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw its proposed rule and forbidding the agency from implementing any similar rule, this bill would set a harmful precedence for politicizing and intervening on public-facing executive agency proceedings. Additionally, the BLM rulemaking was issued to modernize outdated oil and gas leasing regulations and royalty rates from the 1980s, ensuring that drillers comply with environmental protections and taxpayers are not burdened with the cost of cleaning up well sites on federal lands,” said Houlahan. 


H.R. 7023, which would change the process and requirements for issuing permits under the Clean Water Act, including permits issued by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for discharging pollutants and dredged material into waterways. In addition, the bill would provide greater liability protections for permit holders acting in good faith from agency enforcement and third-party lawsuits, codify certain requirements and practices for general permits, and limit the ability of executive agencies or federal courts to revoke or block permits that have been issued. Houlahan voted NO. 


“The Clean Water Act permitting process has faced some criticism for a lack of clarity and certainty in its processes, creating permitting delays and uncertainty that can impact both industrial and clean energy developers. While this bill would address some of these permitting concerns, it pairs them with provisions that erode environmental protections and limit local community engagement. Even though my bipartisan amendment was included, this bill’s highly partisan approach to permitting reform ultimately undermines the goal of developing durable, transparent, and efficient permitting timelines for industry and clean energy developers alike,” said Houlahan. 


H.R. 1023, which repeals authorizations for the Inflation Reduction Act’s EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which helps finance clean energy and technology projects as well as the Methane Emission Reduction Program that promotes reductions in methane emissions. Houlahan voted NO. 


“Defunding the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and Methane Emission Reduction Program would undermine the nation’s efforts to combat climate change while building a resilient and competitive clean energy economy,” said Houlahan. 


H.Res. 987 denounces the Biden administration's energy policies while and H.Con.Res. 86 expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax is not in the best interest of the United States. Houlahan voted NO on both resolutions. 


“These political resolutions are highly partisan and do not attempt to work meaningfully towards bipartisan policy reforms that benefit the American people or safeguard our nation’s economic or energy security,” said Houlahan. 


Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governing necessary to move our country forward” and the Congressional Management Foundation’s 2022 Democracy Award for best Constituent Services in Congress.