Biden to veto Republican energy permitting bill, White House says

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By Kanishka Singh, Katharine Jackson and Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden would veto a Republican energy legislation package if it were to pass Congress, citing cost increases that the legislation could lead to, the White House said on Monday.

“H.R. 1 (Lower Energy Costs Act) would double the cost of energy efficiency upgrades that families need to reduce household bills and would repeal the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund that will cut energy costs and boost economic development in rural and urban communities across the country,” the White House said.

“Therefore, if presented to the president in its current form, he would veto it.”

Republicans plan to bring the legislation to the floor of the House of Representatives, where they hold a slim majority, for a vote this week, Representative Elise Stefanik, who chairs the House Republican Conference, said on Monday.

The bill would codify into a law a Trump administration rule that sought limits on reviews and public input on fossil fuel projects and road building, weakening the fundamental conservation law the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

Even if the bill were to pass in the House, it would face a test in its path to clear the Senate where Biden’s fellow Democrats hold a narrow majority.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the House bill is “dead on arrival” in the Senate. But many senators want more moderate permitting legislation to expand the electricity transmission system and rapid build out of renewable power.

Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, last week outlined progressive priorities for a permitting bill that include historic levels of funding for environmental justice programs and NEPA implementation.

ClearView Energy Partners, a nonpartisan research group, said the House bill could set up a conversation between the House and Senate on compromise legislation that could be included in a wider bill later this year such as one lifting the debt ceiling or a measure on defense policy.

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