Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are co-sponsors of the Western Economic Security Today (WEST) Act, legislation focused on strengthening the economy and creating jobs in the West. The act, introduced by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), is a package of several U.S. House of Representatives-passed pieces of legislation currently awaiting action in the U.S. Senate.
"This comprehensive bill will stimulate domestic energy production on public lands and curb stringent environmental regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among other provisions," Crapo said. "In Idaho alone, farmers would have to apply for hundreds of thousands of pesticide permits, as every creek and stream in agriculture country would be subject to EPA oversight. This is in addition to EPA's recent attempt to regulate dust on farms. The cost of both regulations on rural America would be unprecedented."
"We cannot do enough to underscore how important our natural resources are in the West and how important the production of energy is to the American economy," said Risch. "We must focus on the roadblocks that our own government is putting in the way of people who want to create jobs and who want to deliver energy to the American people."
The WEST Act includes the following pieces of House-passed legislation:
* HR 1229 The Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act would end the Administration's de facto moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible and transparent manner by setting firm timelines for considering permits to drill. It reforms current law by requiring the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary to issue a permit to drill and also requiring the Secretary to conduct a safety review.
* HR 1230 The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act would require the Administration to move forward promptly to conduct offshore lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that the Obama Administration has delayed or canceled.
* HR 1231 The Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act would lift the President's ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward in the 2012-2017 lease plan with energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources. The bill sets a production goal of 3 million barrels of oil per day by 2027, which would reduce foreign imports by nearly one-third.
* HR 2021 The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act would eliminate confusion and uncertainty surrounding the EPA's decision-making process for air permits, which is delaying energy exploration in the Alaskan Outer-Continental Shelf (OCS). It is expected to create over 50,000 jobs and produce 1 million barrels of oil a day.
* HR 1837 The San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act would promote water policies that facilitate the delivery of California's abundant supply of water, as well as support the implementation of an economically feasible and environmentally sustainable river restoration of the San Joaquin River.
* HR 872 The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to ensure that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are not needed for the application of pesticides that are currently registered and regulated under FIFRA.
* HR 1633 The Farm Dust Prevention Act would stop the EPA from imposing more stringent dust standards for one year. Additionally, it would afford states and localities the flexibility to address any rural dust issues before the federal government would have the authority to do so. If unregulated at the state, local or tribal level, the EPA could not regulate this type of dust unless it finds that the dust causes substantial adverse health effects and that the benefits of rural dust regulation outweigh economic costs in the local communities. Further regulation of dust could result in lost jobs in rural America.
* HR 910 The Energy Tax Prevention Act would prohibit the Administrator of the EPA from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change using the Clean Air Act.