After a relatively quiet year on the energy and environment front, House Republicans are again revving up attacks on President Obama's policies for energy development, this time with a pair of bills that would chip away at the administration's authority over oil and gas production on federal lands.
Much of the debate scheduled for the House floor Wednesday will focus on legislation sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to block the Interior Department from regulating fracking on public lands where state regulations are already on the books.
Ahead of Wednesday's debate, supporters of the measure framed it as an attempt to ward off a regulatory regime that would prove harmful to the domestic oil and gas boom.
"We have a shale-energy revolution in this country and the federal government shouldn't be doing anything to jeopardize that," Flores told National Journal Daily. "This bill would put the power to regulate back into the hands of the people who do it best — the states."
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., similarly painted the legislation as an attempt to block the administration from slowing oil and natural-gas production.
"Imposing a "˜one-size-fits-all' federal regulation on hydraulic fracturing would add costly and duplicative layers of red tape that would only stand in the way of increased American energy production," Hastings said.