Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. Also dubbed the “Polluters Over People” Act, this sweeping energy package would open federal public lands and waters to more drilling and mining, limit agency and public review of fossil fuel projects, expedite mining permits, and roll back our nation’s bedrock environmental laws. A broad coalition of climate and environmental groups have deemed H.R. 1 the “Polluters Over People Act” due to its massive giveaways to the fossil fuel industry.
Some of these provisions include:
- A requirement for the Department of Interior to hold at least two lease sales for offshore drilling in both the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska;
- A total exemption for all seismic blasting from the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act; and
- A provision severely restricting the President’s and Interior Secretary’s authority to withdraw public lands and waters from consideration for leasing or drilling.
In response, Marc Yaggi, the CEO of Waterkeeper Alliance, issued the following statement:
“Our ongoing battles against pollution from pervasive PFAS contamination to the recent environmental disasters in East Palestine and Philadelphia make clear that we need more accountability for polluting industries, not less. Although we are counting on the Senate to vote no to this egregious legislation, the fact that it passed the House is undeniable proof that too many elected officials treat frontline and fenceline communities as sacrifice zones for fossil fuel and other polluting industries. Getting the public out of the way makes it easier for corporations to reap the profits of dangerous projects while our communities pay the price with unhealthy water, air, and climate impacts as well as bearing the financial burden of cleaning up their waste. Our leaders in Washington must hold the line and fight back by working on real solutions that put the people they are sworn to defend above polluters.”