Senator John Hoeven (R–ND) recently introduced the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (DEJA), which would greatly expand access to energy and simplify burdensome regulations that prevent projects from coming online in a timely manner. While the legislation could be improved by further increasing access and removing the top-down energy planning, DEJA would still spur economic growth and drive energy production.
DEJA would accept the State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline as sufficient and allow the state of Nebraska to reroute the pipeline to meet the state’s environmental concerns. The State Department studied and addressed risks to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife, and endangered species and concluded that construction of the pipeline would pose minimal environmental risk. The construction of Keystone XL would allow up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day to come from Canada to the Gulf Coast and create thousands of jobs.
DEJA also directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to conduct a lease sale off the coast of Virginia. The 2.9 million acres 50 miles off the coast has an estimated 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Opening access off Virginia’s coast is long overdue, and the legislation only opens up a small portion of America’s territorial waters that are off limits.