House approves pro-fracking, pro-oil bills to kick off ‘energy week’

House Republicans on Wednesday kicked off voting on a slate of legislation for what they are dubbing “energy week,” passing two measures in support of oil and gas development.

Collectively, the energy-related legislation that passes this week is virtually certain not to become law because it would be unlikely to be taken up in the Democratic-led Senate or approved by the White House.

Rather, it’s a messaging tool for the GOP to show voters where their energy agenda lies ahead of this year’s elections. And it puts vulnerable Democrats on the record as either opposing President Biden or standing with him.

The first bill Wednesday, which passed in a 229-188 vote, would bar a president from declaring any kind of pause on fracking, a controversial oil and gas extraction method that has been linked to water contamination and other pollution.

Biden has not said he wants to ban fracking overall, though during his 2020 campaign he said he wanted to stop new drilling, including fracking, on publicly owned lands and waters.

When he first took office, his administration paused new auctions for the rights to drill on public lands, but has since resumed this first step in the process for new drilling.

The second bill, which passed 216-200, undoes action by the administration to raise fees for drilling on public lands.

Fifteen Democrats voted with Republicans in support of the first measure, while three voted with them on the second measure.

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