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House passes GOP-led energy package, Golden and Pingree split votes

U.S. Reps Jared Golden (left) and Chellie Pingree.
Natalie Williams and Troy R. Bennett
U.S. Reps Jared Golden (left) and Chellie Pingree.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday aimed at enhancing the domestic production of fossil fuels, and Maine's two house Democrats were divided on the issue.

Congressional Republicans signaled that the Lower Energy Costs Act is their top priority, by labeling it HR 1. They say it would remove obstacles to fossil fuel production, and repeal aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Rep. Jared Golden was one of just four Democrats to support the bill.

"The reforms outlined in HR 1 are a good first step toward creating a permitting process that cuts red tape, increases our energy capacity, and lowers energy prices at a time when our constituents are still facing sky-high costs," Golden said in a statement.

But Golden said he objected to rolling back some provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Rep. Chellie Pingree said the bill comes just as Congressional Democrats are making progress in the fight against climate change.

"House Republicans are threatening that progress, emboldening the fossil fuel industry, eliminating protections that keep our communities safe, and doing nothing to lower energy costs," Pingree said in a statement

President Biden has threatened to veto the bill if it passes the Senate, where it faces long odds.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.