Markup of Energy Diplomacy Act and Other Measures

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 30 Sep 2021 17:00:00 GMT

Markup of:
  • H.R. 1456, Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2021
  • H.R. 4133, Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Authorization Act
  • H.R. 1311, Energy Diplomacy Act
  • H.R. 3485, Global Respect Act
  • H.R. 3344, Transatlantic Telecommunications Security Act
  • H.Con.Res.45, Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the execution-style murders of United States citizens Ylli Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi in the Republic of Serbia in July 1999
  • H.R. 2748, Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2021
  • H.R. 4785, Uyghur Policy Act of 2021
  • H.Res. 336, Calling on the Government of the Russian Federation to provide evidence or to release United States citizen Paul Whelan

The Energy Diplomacy Act, introduced by Rep. August Pfluger II (R-TX) and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), would create a new position in the State Department to promote the development and export of fossil fuels. Before this markup, it passed the House as an amendment to the NDAA.

Buried In NDAA, Fossil-Fueled Provision Directs State Department To Promote Fossil-Fuel Industry

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 29 Sep 2021 21:23:00 GMT

Buried within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 (H.R. 4350) passed last week, the Democratic House of Representatives approved language creating a new position in the State Department dedicated to promoting oil and fracked gas interests.

The language is taken from the Energy Diplomacy Act (H.R. 1311), introduced by Rep. August Pfluger II (R-Texas) and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), both oil-patch members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The bill establishes an Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, responsible for “protecting and advancing United States energy security interests” and “coordinating energy activities” in the State Department. The position will “support the development of energy resources and the distribution of such resources,” “resolve international disputes regarding the exploration, development, production, or distribution of energy resources,” and “support and coordinate international efforts to alleviate energy poverty.” “Energy poverty” is a fossil-fuel industry term used to promote the development of coal, oil, and gas in the developing world.

It was introduced as part of an amendment to the NDAA on State Department operations (numbered 723 in the Rules Committee list and 286 on the House floor) by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the Foreign Affairs chair and ranking member. It passed the House as one of 111 amendments included in en-bloc amendment 124, agreed to 362 to 59 (roll-call vote 289).

Pfluger is a first-term congressman financed by the oil and gas industry, whose stated “primary concern in Congress is to protect our oil and gas industry from the radical Democrats.” Gonzalez is one of a dwindling number of oil-patch Democrats financed by the oil and gas industry who opposes climate action.

Despite its House passage, the bill will face a pro-forma markup in the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.

While the bill avoids mention of fossil-fueled climate change, it does not preclude the new role from being dedicated to supporting renewable energy development instead of fossil-fuel interests, although the language about foreign energy markets and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative would make little sense in that case.