In his energy plan released Thursday, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the suspension and reconsideration of several rules administered by the EPA, the creation of a separate court to address challenges to energy projects, and greater access to onshore and offshore oil and natural gas resources.
“In order to create a functional system that protects both the environment and jobs, we must dismantle the EPA in its existing state and build a new, more effective organization that addresses national or regional issues that individual states cannot address on their own,” Perry said in his “Energizing American Jobs and Security” plan.
“Our reconstructed, limited EPA would be dramatically reduced in size and influence, returning more power of regulation and up to 60% of the current federal budget [for EPA] to state governments…[And] during the reconstruction of the EPA, we must institute a moratorium on new regulation,” he said.
He also proposed the immediate suspension and reconsideration of the Obama administration’s Clean Air Act regulations, such as the EPA’s Utility MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology) and CSAPR (Cross State Air Pollution Rule), as well as the repeal of the EPA’s authority over greenhouse gas emissions.
Perry said he believes environmental regulation and conservation are best applied at the state level. “A responsible energy policy gives the states the freedom to properly conserve and protect the environment, tailoring sound environmental stewardship to each state’s unique economic and environmental needs.”
Moreover he called for the creation of a separate court to fast-track challenges to energy project permits. “By establishing a specific permitting court for energy development projects, we could expedite litigation and prevent baseless lawsuits from causing undue delays that raise costs and kill jobs.” Another way to address “lawsuit abuse is to amend the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act to require all permit-related lawsuits to be completed in a specific time frame,” Perry said.
He contends his energy plan “will commence or expand energy exploration from the Atlantic coast to the western seas off Alaska. We will end the bureaucratic foot-dragging that has reduced offshore drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico by 80%. We will tap the full potential of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.”
Too much federal regulation could hamper energy development, Perry said. “Preventing an influx of federal regulation is…important to maintaining our on- and offshore oil and gas development. In order to continue to develop our natural gas resources, we must oppose needless federal restrictions on natural gas production, including hydraulic or nitrogen fracturing and horizontal drilling.”
Specifically, he recommended returning to the pre-Obama levels of permitting in the Gulf of Mexico; opening the coastal plain region of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development, as well as increasing activity in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and the Alaskan Beaufort and Chukchi Seas; opening the Southern Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf to development; expanding oil and gas development on federal lands in the West (Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming); and lifting any federal restrictions on gas production.
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