U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the Energy Freedom Act, in order to make America energy independent again by accelerating federal permitting for energy projects and pipelines, mandating new onshore and offshore oil and gas lease sales, approving pending LNG export licenses, and generally speeding up solar, wind, and geothermal development. Upon introducing the bill, Sen. Cruz stated:
“In the past year with Joe Biden as president, the United States has lost its status as a net petroleum exporter, after achieving that goal in 2019 for the first time since 1949. Why? Because on day one of his administration, President Biden issued illegal and hostile orders aimed at American oil and gas producers, which have increased energy prices and directed profits to other oil exporting countries.
“These policies have poured billions of dollars into countries such as Russia and Iran, which use those funds to attack our allies and undermine the national security of America. President Biden has imposed more restrictions on U.S. oil companies than he has on Russian oil. With Iran, he has looked the other way as the regime busted through sanctions and raised their exports to more than one million barrels per day for the first time in almost three years.
“I’m introducing the Energy Freedom Act to reverse Biden’s actions so we can restore American energy independence. This bill won’t cost taxpayers a dime, but it will provide the United States billions in revenue in the coming years by expediting permitting, leasing, safe new pipelines, and exports, and providing much needed regulatory certainty. It would create new jobs, lower energy costs, and because modern energy production in the United States is far cleaner than in any other country’s by every measure, it would help the environment.
“The Energy Freedom Act would put a stop to the Biden administration’s sabotage of the American energy industry, and Congress should take it up without delay.”
What the Energy Freedom Act does:
- Prohibits the president from unilaterally enacting leasing bans on federal lands.
- Eliminates the presidential permit requirement for cross-border energy projects.
- On federal lands and waters:
o Mandates the onshore and offshore oil, gas, wind, solar, and geothermal lease sales which have been “paused” since January 2021;
o Expedites permitting and adds certainty to the scope of environmental reviews; and
o Reduces foreign dependence on critical minerals by expanding access and streamlining permitting.
- Requires FERC and the Department of Energy to review permits to export LNG within 60 days and immediately approves permits pending to export LNG through 2025.
- Requires FERC and the U.S. Army Corps to complete permitting for interstate natural gas projects in one year or less and prohibits rejection of a natural gas pipeline if the project meets safety regulations.
- Ends regulatory uncertainty from certain Biden administration rulemakings by putting into law the:
o 2020 EPA and U.S. Army Corps definition of Waters of the United States;
o 2020 EPA methane rule;
o 2021 valuation rule for oil and gas production on federal lands;
o 2020 Council on Environmental Quality NEPA rule; and
o 2021 U.S. Army Corps Pipeline Rule (Nationwide Permit 12).