NTU Sends Memo to House Natural Resources Committee on Priorities for the 118th Congress

To: Members of the House Natural Resources (Chair: Bruce Westerman)
From: National Taxpayers Union 
Date: March 17, 2023
Subject: NTU Priorities for the 118th Congress

  1. Introduction and Key Taxpayer Considerations
On behalf of National Taxpayers Union (NTU), the nation’s oldest taxpayer advocacy organization, we write to inform you of a number of NTU’s energy and natural resources policy priorities for the 118th Congress. As your Committee begins to plan for the 118th Congress, we hope that you will commit to advancing pro-taxpayer policies throughout the next two years. 
House Members introduced a slate of bills during the last Congress that would strengthen America’s energy independence and protect taxpayers and consumers from increasing energy costs. As the country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and global markets continue to be disrupted by international affairs, NTU hopes to work closely with Committee members on enacting energy policy reforms that increase domestic production and lower energy costs.
  1. Legislation the Committee Should Support and Advance 
NTU encourages members of the Committee to support the following legislation in the 118th session:
Support: H.R. 1 
  • The Lower Energy Costs Act would be the most consequential update to American energy policy in decades. By enacting the reforms in this comprehensive package, taxpayers will see lower energy costs and ample supply readily available to meet ever increasing demand. 
  • H.R. 1 would also alleviate our dependence on foreign energy providers.
  • This important legislation would also reform the broken National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), allowing for streamlined project approval and avoiding billions of dollars in delays to critical energy projects. 
Support: The Transparency, Accountability, Permitting and Production of (TAPP) American Resources Act
  • This legislation, which is part of the H.R. 1 package, would advance energy projects and eliminate wasteful delays by reforming the NEPA process and holding federal agencies accountable to timelines and benchmarks through the permitting process. NTU strongly urges Congress to pass the TAPP Act, whether as part of H.R. 1 or as a standalone bill.
Support: American Critical Minerals Independence Act (H.R. 2637 in the 117th Congress)
  • This legislation would invest in recycling technology, innovation, and processing while streamlining the permitting process and directing the analysis of federal lands for potential resources. 
Support: Strategic Production Response Act (H.R. 21) 
  • NTU strongly supported H.R. 21 when the House voted on it earlier this year, and we continue to push for policies that would safeguard the nation’s emergency supply of energy. H.R. 21 would ensure the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is only used for true emergencies, by requiring the Secretary of Energy to provide a plan to replace any drawdowns with an increase in domestic leasing for oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
Support: Building United States Infrastructure through Limited Delays and Efficient Reviews (BUILDER) Act
  • It was promising to see that the House Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing on this important legislation, and NTU recommends that the Senate swiftly consider similar legislation. This bill would update the outdated NEPA statutes in order to clarify its ambiguous provisions while reflecting improvements to technologies. By increasing interagency coordination and enacting much needed improvements to the environmental review process, the BUILDER Act would ultimately save taxpayer dollars and decrease project delays which have been estimated at a cost of $3.7 trillion in foregone economic gains. 
  1. Additional Policies the Committee Should Pursue
Permitting Reform
  • It is no secret that the federal energy permitting process is broken. It can take years for energy producers to go from the discovery phase to production, and that is time the country does not have to waste given the high energy costs consumers are facing right now. Currently there are more than 4,896 permits for drilling awaiting approval by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, and thousands more being held up by lawsuits. NTU looks forward to working closely with members of the Committee on solutions that balance the need to protect federal lands and habitats while finding a clear pathway that allows for increased production of resources.
“All of the Above”
  • NTU supports an “all of the above” strategy to increase our domestic energy supply, which includes traditional energy sources such as natural gas and nuclear, as well as renewable sources like offshore wind and solar. However, the goal of a broad and diverse energy portfolio should not involve the heavy hand of government, but rather a deployment strategy that streamlines new development and removes unnecessary and burdensome red tape. Accordingly, NTU recommends looking at legislation to reduce barriers that block the development of and access to new energy supply from a variety of sources. We encourage lawmakers to steer away from punitive and economically damaging policies such as a windfall profits tax.
  1. Contact Information

We look forward to working with each of you in the new Congress and welcome the opportunity to meet with you or your staff on these priorities as the 118th Congress gets underway. Should you have any questions about the recommendations in this memo, please do not hesitate to reach out to Alex Milliken at Amilliken@ntu.org.