More U.S. territory, on land and offshore, would be open to energy development with less environmental regulation under a broad proposal from Representative Jeff Duncan. The Laurens County Republican will introduce his energy legislation when Congress returns in January, hoping House GOP leaders will add it to the mix of energy-related initiatives to consider next year, before the 2014 elections.
During a recent interview on Capitol Hill, Jeff Duncan said “It’s about meeting our energy needs with domestic resources.”
In addition to expanding oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast and part of Alaska, Duncan’s legislation would encourage wind and solar power projects on federal lands. Other provisions would make it easier for utilities to build nuclear power plants; roll back regulations on greenhouse gases; slow the government’s ability to designate protected wilderness areas; open Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste; and allow the construction of the full Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
As for concerns about accidents such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Duncan said South Carolina residents should rest easier because the depths off the state’s coastline are shallower. “If you have a spill out there it’s small, short-lived, and contained and you can clean that up,” Duncan said. “It’s education. People realize that any deposits are over the visible horizon, so it wouldn’t have a visual effect on tourism and the beaches.”