The House is planning to vote this week on a new package of GOP-backed, environmentally destructive energy bills that have no chance of going anywhere, just like they didn't go anywhere the last time they were passed. In other words, House Republicans are planning to spend the rest of this legislative session trolling everyone.
Even the name is trollish: the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act. The House already passed all 13 bills contained within, all of which were ignored by the Senate. The White House has already stated that, if they pass again, President Obama's advisers would recommend he veto them. But they're going to go ahead and try to pass them again anyway because, according to the Hill, they want to "remind the Senate and the public that the GOP opposes President Obama’s energy policies." Just in case we weren't sure.
"I think we can get 60 votes [needed for passage] on a lot of those things," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told the Washington Examiner. "And then the president will have to decide does he really care about the American economy and American workers, or is he just stuck to his radical, extreme environmental ideology?"
The specific bills, as Lukas Ross, a climate and energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, pointed out to Salon, are guaranteed to provoke anyone who cares about climate change, or unregulated drilling, or lung-damaging pollution from coal-fired power plants. Aside from trying, for the ninth time, to bypass the president in approving Keystone XL, the House would also further weaken federal oversight of fracking, accelerate permits for liquified natural gas exports -- thus encouraging even more fracking -- and require the government to make at least a quarter of federal land available for oil and gas extraction, including leases off the coasts of California, Virginia and South Caroline. It would also promote the development of the environmentally terrible and, so far, economically nonviable "oil shale," a dirty energy source capable of producing 50 percent more emissions than traditional crude oil. Other fun ones, highlighted by Fuel Fix, include attempts to prohibit the EPA from imposing new mandates if the Energy Department determines they would harm the economy and, naturally, to stop the EPA from its current work of limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The White House concluded as much as well, writing in a statement that the act, while purporting "to promote and increase the Nation's energy security," would actually "undermine security and endanger human health and the environment."
It's funny, and more than a little pathetic, to watch the House put all this effort into repassing things that the Senate and White House have no interest in taking seriously: Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., characterizes the ongoing debates as a congressional “Groundhog Day.” Where it gets kind of frightening is that conservative commenters are characterizing the act a post-election wish list for what a GOP-controlled Senate could manage to "accomplish." But in the meantime, the passage of a bunch of terrible bills that will then just go away is, as Climate Progress recently noted, "probably the best environmental and climate activists could hope for."