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Rouzer Touts Permitting Reform Contributions to H.R. 1 During Floor Debate

  • Washington, DC Office
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) delivered a speech on the House Floor in support of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, which includes legislation he introduced to prevent certain states from blocking critical energy infrastructure projects on political grounds.  Rouzer emphasized how his component of H.R. 1 ensures America can build the energy infrastructure necessary to responsibly utilize our natural resources, unleash American energy independence, and lower costs for families.

Click here to watch Rep. Rouzer's floor speech.

Full remarks:

"I rise in support of H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, which includes the Water Quality Certification and Energy Project Improvement Act, and that bill is the one that I introduced alongside my friend and colleague from Louisiana, Mr. Garret Graves.  One of many key components in this package, this specific part of the bill helps ensure development of our Nation’s energy infrastructure at a time when it is most necessary. 

"This is accomplished by clarifying that projects subject to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act are approved or denied based on water quality alone.  So unlike what my colleagues have been saying on the other side of the aisle, that we're going to permit dirty water, etc., etc. If it's related to water, guess what? Section 401 still applies.

"The water quality certification process has been — and continues to be — weaponized by certain states to stifle important energy projects they oppose, particularly pipelines, for political reasons completely unrelated to water quality and outside the scope and intent of the Clean Water Act.  That's all this particular provision addresses.

"Instead of fairly analyzing a project based on the Federal standards set forth by Congress, what's happened is states on the East and West Coasts have increasingly weaponized Section 401 for their own ideological purposes unrelated to water quality.

"Here are some examples.  In my home state of North Carolina, the Mountain Valley Southgate Project was denied not because of water quality, but because the deciding bureaucrats hold an inherent opposition to the project as a whole.  Projects in Washington and New York have been denied due to noise and cultural resources.  Nothing to do with water quality.  These are just a few examples of the weaponization of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act statute.  So, the language that's included here, in this package, quite simply will end this abuse.

"At a time when American energy production and distribution is under tremendous assault from some in this country, ensuring that America can build the energy infrastructure necessary to responsibly utilize our natural resources, unleash American energy independence, and lower costs for American families is a top priority that this broader bill achieves.   

"And let me put it this way – low cost, reliable energy is fundamental to prosperity.  It isn’t the only critical aspect necessary for a nation and her people to be prosperous, but it is awfully hard for a nation to be prosperous without it.  Low cost and reliable energy helps America to produce more goods and therefore put downward pressure on inflation.  And boy, do we need all the help we can get.  It will enable America to be energy dominant again, increasing American strength abroad.  Put another way, it’s critical to our economy, our food security, and our national security.  And that is why this legislation is so badly needed at this critical time in American history. 

"I urge my colleagues to support the Lower Energy Costs Act, and I reserve my time."