This morning, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced the Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act (EPPA), intended to help all Americans have equal access to affordable and reliable energy. EPPA protects vulnerable and at-risk communities by requiring transparency and accountability with new energy bills and regulations.
“Clean energy initiatives have a lot of promise, but it’s not always transparent how those initiatives will impact our communities,” said Rep. Hern. “If a bill comes before Congress that’s going to incentivize clean energy practices, but drastically raise utility costs for low-income families, I need to know that before I vote on the bill. Rural communities already have limited access to resources, are the regulations we’re putting in place going to have side effects that further impede their access? We should know that when we vote on a bill. With an influx of clean energy legislation from the majority, we need to know the realistic economic impact of these bills on at-risk populations. I’m proud to introduce this legislation today and look forward to earning the support of my colleagues, hopefully in a bipartisan fashion.”
Ten original co-sponsors joined Rep. Hern on EPPA:
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02)
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-01)
Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03)
Rep. Troy Balderson (OH-12)
Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14)
Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04)
Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01)
Rep. Rick Allen (GA-12)
Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08)
The Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act:
- States that it is the policy of the United States that all citizens should have equal access to affordable and reliable energy to maintain personal health and economic security and that the United States should mitigate the disparate impact of increases in the cost of energy on at-risk communities.
- Requires the Secretary of the Interior to identify barriers to the ability of at-risk communities that live on or near Federal land or Tribal land to access reliable and affordable energy, including how the presence of adequate energy transmission infrastructure affects such access.
- Directs the Secretary of the Interior and the Chief of the Forest Service to identify actions they can take to reduce the barriers to energy access, including establishing lower fees or lowering other costs, streamlining the approval of rights-of-way on such land, encouraging the private energy sector to invest in Federal and Tribal lands, and rapidly developing transmission and delivery systems in remote areas.
- Requires CBO to report how a bill or resolution will affect the cost of energy in at-risk communities in applicable CBO reports.
- Requires the GAO to analyze Federal energy and environmental laws and regulations, as well as State renewable portfolio standards, to determine how such laws, regulations, and standards affect electricity prices, home heating prices, gasoline prices, motor vehicle prices, natural gas prices, and household appliance prices in at-risk communities.
- Requires GAO to develop criteria to determine whether an at-risk community is experiencing energy poverty and issue a report to Congress identifying such communities and providing recommendations regarding how to reduce energy poverty.
- Requires the Office of Management and Budget to analyze each energy regulation having an effect of $100 million or more on the economy to determine if it imposes, relative to the general population, disproportionate costs on at-risk communities.
The bill text can be found here.