House GOP’s ‘better way’ includes energy, regulatory policy reforms

Republican members of the US House of Representatives proposed a series of policy changes to tackle excessive regulations, develop more American energy, and curb lawsuit abuse as a third plank in their “Better Way” for the next administration.

“We as a country spend up to $2 trillion every year just to comply with Washington’s mandates,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) said during a press conference near the Capitol with other House GOP leaders where the proposals were released on June 14.

“The truth is, we need rules—clear, firm rules that all of us can live by,” Ryan said. “The question is what the best way is to write them. To keep our air and water clean, to protect consumers from scams and rip-offs—but also to create jobs and expand opportunity. It does not have to be an either-or. We can have both. That’s why we wrote this plan.”

The plan’s more than 100 ideas included:

• Fewer and smarter regulations, by cutting down on needless requirements and making necessary rules more efficient and effective.

• More affordable and reliable energy, by connecting the recent US energy renaissance more directly to consumers with more production of domestic resources, and ending needless delays which hold up projects.

• Helping hard-working Americans become financially independent, while ending Wall Street bailouts.

• More choices for workers and students by removing bureaucratic barriers which keep them from getting ahead.

• “Real Internet innovation,” with clear and consumer-friendly rules that prevent the Federal Communications Commission “from making up regulations as it goes along.”

• A lawsuit abuse crackdown to “keep trial lawyers in check, and improve protections for consumers and small businesses.”

The ideas were developed by a taskforce on reducing regulatory burdens, which included chairmen of the Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and seven other House committees.

“No major regulation should become law unless Congress takes a vote,” Ryan said. “In fact, we should consider setting a cap on the amount of regulatory costs that Washington can impose every year. The burden should not be on the people to justify themselves to Washington. The burden should be on Washington to justify itself to the people.”

Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (Utah) said outdated federal regulations—or policies that lack expert input or state engagement—do more harm than good. “They stifle innovation. They negatively impact peoples’ wallets and discourage the very behavior that made this nation the envy of the world. That’s why we are calling for a better way,” he said.

Bishop said, “We have a burdensome federal regulatory system that promotes uncertainty and holds up jobs and projects indefinitely. We need to put the days of believing bureaucrats in DC know best behind us and take actions to strengthen our lead to keep energy prices low for American families for generations to come.”

National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi congratulated Ryan, Bishop, and other members of the regulatory reduction taskforce “on their blueprint for regulatory and legislative reforms that would deliver affordable and reliable homegrown energy to American consumers and strengthen our energy security.”

Luthi said, “The offshore oil and gas sector is under unprecedented regulatory assault as the Obama administration rushes to finalize rules on well control, air quality, financial assurance, and Arctic operations [that] threaten the future of offshore energy production.”

He said, “In a political climate rife with hyperbolic rhetoric, unsubstantiated claims, and naive calls to keep it in the ground, ‘A Better Way’ lays out legislative solutions for improving our nation’s economy and reducing regulatory burdens, particularly in the oil and gas sector.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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