U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, announced Monday that he has signed on as a co-sponsor to a bill that would approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, expand domestic energy exploration and reduce regulations.
In addition to waiving a requirement for presidential approval of the pipeline to carry Canadian shale oil to American refineries, the bill would repeal the ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, allow states to develop energy resources on federal land and bar the federal government from regulating a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It speeds up the application process for drilling permits.
The bill would also require a cost-benefit analysis before federal agencies could impose regulations. Anyone adversely impacted by certain regulations could petition for an end to the rule, and companies performing government contracts no longer would have to pay “prevailing wages” to their employees.
My opinion: Wow. This bill is certainly packed with a veritable menagerie of right-wing ideals at the expense of environmental preservation and labor rights. I guess what I am the most shocked at is this bill would unleash an onslaught of hazardous practices in the backyards of the employees that the bill also allows companies to suppress the wages of. These are “bold” ideas?
I don’t understand why the Republican party, particularly the far right, continues to push archaic ideals instead of thinking of a bill that will encourage jobs in cleaner sectors of the economy. It was this type of near-sighted thinking in the early 1900s that brought about widespread public concerns regarding our environment in the 50’s and 60’s — leading to the creation of the EPA in the 70’s.
Yes, we all want more jobs but we also want those jobs to be sustainable for long periods of time. Destroying the environment in the interest of jobs is not a long-term solution and bills like this, in my opinion, appear lazy on the part of our lawmakers.
On a more humorous note, the bill is awkwardly named the Jumpstarting Opportunities with Bold Solutions Act just so they could get the acronym ‘JOBS’ Act.