Biden To Veto ‘Lower Energy Costs Act’; Bill Would Have Unleashed Fossil Fuel Production

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman said President Biden's likely veto of the Lower Energy Costs Act is bad news for Wyoming and the U.S. because it would have unleashed fossil fuel development and brought consumer energy costs way down.

March 31, 20236 min read

Collage Maker 31 Mar 2023 04 17 PM 4222

The U.S. House passed an energy package Thursday aimed at reversing a regulatory environment hostile to oil, gas and coal production that has flourished under the Biden administration, according to bill proponents.

President Joe Biden has said that the United States would only need oil for 10 more years and coal for even less.

A statement from the Biden administration this week said that the bill is a “license to pollute” and “if presented to the President in its current form, he would veto it.”

Coal Benefits 

The House passed the Lower Energy Costs Act in a 225-204 vote. The package, which has been a top priority for House Republicans, includes bills that would, if passed, prohibit Biden from banning fracking, repeal restrictions on the import and export of natural gas, repeal natural gas taxes on energy bills, and require the Department of Interior to resume lease sales for energy development on federal lands.

Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, a technology that allows for oil extraction out of some geological formations. 

The package also includes bills that would streamline the permitting process and limit the scope of review under the National Environmental Policy Act.  

Wyoming Rep. Harriet Hageman, who voted in favor of the act, told Cowboy State Daily that the bill would benefit Wyoming’s coal industry.  

Hageman introduced as part of the package the Combating Obstruction Against Leasing (COAL) Act, which would force the Secretary of the Interior to act on outstanding coal permits and leases.  

The other provisions concerning federal oil and gas leasing and permitting reform would help Wyoming’s oil and gas industry, Hageman said. 

“So much of our energy is produced on federal lands,” Hageman said.  

Lower Energy Costs 

Hageman said that by unleashing fossil fuel development, consumer energy costs would go down. While the Biden administration has sought to lower energy costs with increased intermittent wind and solar energy, Hageman said it’s had the opposite effect.  

She explained that while wind and sunlight are free, capturing that dilute, random energy to generate electricity is not free.

“Wind and solar are astronomically expensive,” Hageman said.  

She explained wind and solar only produce electricity, which is about 20% of the energy we consume. The bulk of our energy is consumed for transportation and heavy industry.

“Even for those people who are strong advocates of wind and solar, it’s only a very limited amount of our energy that we’re even talking about,” Hageman said.  

By increasing the supply of oil and gas to meet energy demand, Hageman said, the costs of energy will go down.  

Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said the bill, if passes, would also create more reliability on the nation’s grid. 

“It’s scandalous that American in the 21st Century are suffering rolling brownouts and blackouts due to pollical decisions that degrade the electrical grid with unreliable wind and solar,” Deti said. 


House Natural Resources Ranking Member Raul M. Grijalva, D-Arizona, called the bill the “Polluters Over People Act.”  

“This legislation puts Americans in harm’s way by gutting our bedrock of environmental and public health laws and ignoring the climate crisis,” Grijalva said in a statement on the passage of the Lower Energy Costs Act.  

Earthjustice, an anti-fossil fuel nonprofit with annual revenues exceeding $100 million, put out a statement claiming the energy package would lead to greater pollution.   

“If passed, it would greenlight harmful fossil fuel and poorly regulated mining projects, lock in decades of dependency on dirty energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas, and undermine the clean energy and climate investments of the Inflation Reduction Act,” the group said in a statement. 

American Resources 

Hageman told Cowboy State Daily that that act would keep all environmental regulations in place and only would streamline the review process. The act would place a time limit on when a lawsuit to stop a project from going forward could be filed.  

“I think that this is a pretty strong statement from the Republicans as to the importance of energy, energy independence, and our ability to access our resources right here in the United States of America,” Hageman said.  

The act would also benefit the renewable energy industry, permitting reform proponents say. Wind and solar farms are going to require a massive increase in mining, including the associated transmission lines. By some estimates, the nation’s electrical grid will need to grow three to seven times larger to accommodate all the farms needed to transport electricity from where it’s being produced to where it’s consumed, based on the weather.

By streamlining the permitting process, it would allow America to develop its critical mineral mining capacity.

“Biden and his Department of Interior are blocking our ability to access those resources, and blocking the permitting associated with doing any of that mining,” Hageman said.  

Energy Security 

Hageman said the act would bolster the nation’s energy security. Contrary to the president’s claim that we’ll be able to stop all fossil fuel use by 2033, Hageman said, we’re going to need oil, coal and gas well into the future.  

China currently controls large portions of the world’s supply of the critical minerals needed to make wind turbines and solar panels.  

“So the question becomes, where are we going to produce the energy that we need to power the economy in the United States?” Hageman said. “For Biden and the Democrats, they want to look to China, and Venezuela, and Russia, and the Congo and Iran. I don’t want to continue to empower dictators and despots.”  

Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, introduced a companion bill to the Lower Energy Costs Act into the Senate last week.

Majority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a Senate speech before the House vote on the act that the Senate wouldn’t waste its time on the companion bill.

Share this article