U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today introduced legislation focused on strengthening the economy and creating jobs in the West. The Western Economic Security Today (WEST) Act incorporates several pieces of legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that ARE awaiting action in the U.S. Senate. The House-passed bills were all featured in the Western Caucus Jobs Frontier report jointly issued by the Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses last fall. Barrasso is the Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus and Hatch is the Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus’ Public Lands Subcommittee.
“Time and time again, this White House and its liberal allies in Congress have chosen to stand in the way of job creation across America, and the development of abundant natural resources in the West,” Hatch said. “The Department of Energy claims there is more than 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil in oil shale in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado alone, but this White House has chosen to close off much of this land to development. Then this week the Senate Majority Leader said he is ‘not going to help in any way’ to move the Keystone Pipeline project forward, which would create thousands of jobs and lower gas prices. The House of Representatives has taken action to lower gas prices and create jobs utilizing the vast resources in the West. It’s time the Obama Administration and its liberal allies in the Senate follow suit by taking up this critical job-creating legislation.”
“For too long, the Obama administration’s anti-American energy policies have strangled western job creators,” said Barrasso. “Through the WEST Act, western Republicans have laid out a clear path to energy security and job creation. By removing harmful EPA and public lands regulations, our legislation encourages American energy production and economic growth. It will also help decrease energy prices for Americans. If President Obama and Senator Reid really are serious about increased energy security and job creation in the West, they should support this bill immediately.”
The WEST Act includes the following pieces of House-passed legislation:
- HR 1229 Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act
Would end the Administration’s de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible, transparent manner by setting firm time-lines for considering permits to drill. It reforms current law by requiring the Secretary to issue a permit to drill and also requiring the Secretary to conduct a safety review.
- HR 1230 Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act
Would require the Administration to move forward promptly to conduct offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that the Obama Administration has delayed or canceled.
- HR 1231 Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act
Would lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward in the 2012-2017 lease plan with energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. The bill sets a production goal of 3 million barrels of oil per day by 2027, which would reduce foreign imports by nearly one-third.
- HR 2021 Jobs and Energy Permitting Act
Would eliminate confusion and uncertainty surrounding the EPA’s decision-making process for air permits, which is delaying energy exploration in the Alaskan Outer-Continental Shelf (OCS). It is expected to create over 50,000 jobs and produce 1 million barrels of oil a day.
- HR 1837 San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act
Would promote water policies that facilitate the delivery of California’s abundant supply of water, as well as support the implementation of an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable river restoration of the San Joaquin River.
- HR 872 Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act
Would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to ensure that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are not needed for the application of pesticides that are currently registered and regulated under FIFRA.
- HR 1633 Farm Dust Prevention Act
Would stop the EPA from imposing more stringent dust standards for one year. Additionally, it would afford states and localities the flexibility to address any rural dust issues before the federal government would have the authority to do so. If unregulated at the state, local or tribal level, the EPA could not regulate this type of dust unless it finds that the dust causes substantial adverse health effects and that the benefits of rural dust regulation outweigh economic costs in the local communities. Further regulation of dust could result in lost jobs in rural America.
- HR 910 Energy Tax Prevention Act
Would prohibit the Administrator of the EPA from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change using the Clean Air Act.
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