Red tape is hurting American clean energy production, Rep. Blake Moore argues

U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, speaks at the Utah Republican Party Organizing Convention in Orem on Saturday. He recently argued regulations are hurting production of clean energy.

U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, speaks at the Utah Republican Party Organizing Convention in Orem on Saturday. He recently argued regulations are hurting production of clean energy. (Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Blake Moore is urging support for the House Republicans' energy bill, arguing it will pave the way for more clean energy projects.

And while HR1, or the Lower Energy Costs Act — passed by the House last month — would boost the production of fossil fuels and roll back several key Biden administration climate policies, the Utah congressman focused on the "streamlining" of the nation's mining permit process included in the bill as a measure that would promote green energy.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Times, Moore said current federal permitting processes slow the process of obtaining lithium and cobalt, which are essential to making batteries to power electric vehicles.

"If we want to reinvigorate our economy, strengthen our national security, support our workforce needs, and be on the forefront of innovative energy solutions, we must address our energy permitting processes," Moore wrote.

When it comes to energy permitting, the bill would "overhaul rules for reviews conducted under the bedrock 1970 National Environmental Policy Act for energy infrastructure," according to Politico. The bill would set a two-year deadline for major reviews and make it more difficult for environmentalists to challenge energy projects in court.

Moore called the current process under that National Environmental Policy Act "cumbersome," saying the act "disrupts and kills both traditional and renewable energy projects."

"This results in less American-made energy, fewer jobs, and more reliance on foreign nations to meet our needs," he wrote.

He said a project to mine lithium, cobalt or copper can take up to 10 years, compared to a similar process taking two to three years in a country like Australia.

"If the goal of our environmental policies is to kill energy projects, particularly clean energy projects, then we are greatly succeeding," Moore wrote. "But if we want to champion environmental conservation, economic growth, workforce expansion, and national security in our energy approach, we must improve our system."

So, will the Lower Energy Costs Act pass? The simple answer is probably not.

Although it received support from a handful of Democrats in the House, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pronounced the bill "dead on arrival" in the Democrat-controlled chamber.

HR1 also seeks to end several programs Democrats approved last year in the Inflation Reduction Act, including grants and loans to help companies cut emissions, according to The Hill. Democrats are unlikely to budge on those programs, which are part of President Joe Biden's signature policy achievement.

Democrats may be willing to embrace some of the permitting reforms Moore touted as a way to move toward cleaner energy, but are expected to reject the bill in its current form.

"The irony is that without this key permitting reform, Democrats' flagship green energy projects will fail or struggle to get off the ground due to NEPA's complex and arduous processes," Moore wrote.

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.


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