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Energy, Environment and Public Lands
Addressing issues relating to energy, the environment and public lands is an important part of my work in Congress.
Where I Stand
I believe we must balance the needs of a healthy environment with the needs of a vibrant economy. In recent years, the federal government has in too many instances veered away from common-sense environmental protection and instead pursued an ideological agenda. These policies destroy jobs and do little, if anything, to help the people, wildlife, or plants they purport to protect.
In Eastern North Carolina, we have seen these short-sighted policies on many levels. Some examples are the excessive restrictions on visitor access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a laundry list of unnecessary fishing regulations, and regulatory vetoes of essential infrastructure projects such as jetties at Oregon Inlet and replacement of Bonner Bridge.
On the national level, similarly unnecessarily restrictive policies are increasing the cost of energy for all of us - particularly those who can least afford it. They also encourage businesses to relocate overseas. The reality is that the American economy depends on low-cost energy. We ought to be getting as much of that energy as possible from right here at home, instead of depending on foreign entities in the Middle East and elsewhere that don’t have our best interests in mind. As a result, I am a strong supporter of efforts to open up areas such as Alaska’s Arctic to new oil and gas development, as well as immediately starting construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Legislative Action in the 114th Congress
H.R. 152 - Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act - Would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of North Carolina, Currituck County, and the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to craft a new management plan to allow the herd of wild horses inhabiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina to grow to the size found by equine scientists to be necessary to maintain genetic viability. This legislation has passed the House and will go to the Senate for further consideration.
H.R. 352 – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Accountability Act – Would require EPA to be more transparent and accountable regarding their regulatory agenda.
H.R.1214 - National Forest Small Tracts Act Amendments Act – Would permit the sale, exchange, or interchange of National Forest System lands the sale or exchange of which is not practicable under any other authority of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) which have a value determined to be not more than $500,000.
H.R. 2109 – Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act – Would amend the Endangered Species Act to replace the current standard for awarding court costs, including attorney fees, in citizen suits with the federal judicial code standard for awarding costs to a prevailing party.
H.R. 2098 – Common Sense in Species Protection Act – Would amend the Endangered Species Act to require the federal government to exclude an area from designation as a critical habitat if the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of including the area.
H.R. 1555 – Forest Access in Rural Communities Act – Would require the federal government to incorporate the needs, uses, and input of affected local communities, and to obtain their consent, before taking any travel management action affecting access to National Forest System lands.
Letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting inclusion of specific language in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 that would prohibit the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using appropriated funds for the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” proposed rule, or any substantially similar rule or guidance.
Letter to House Appropriations Committee requesting to zero out funding for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Nuclear Energy, and Fossil Energy accounts in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, thereby saving taxpayers at least $1.8 billion.
Letter to House Appropriations Committee supporting strong funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program so that important fish and wildlife conservation efforts continue.
Letter to House Appropriations Committee supporting level funding in Fiscal Year 2016 for USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) electric loans which are used to finance electric generating facilities as well as electric transmission and distribution infrastructure for residents and businesses in rural areas.
Letter to EPA expressing support for the role that biomass power plays in our nation’s energy supply, and asking EPA to take action to remove regulatory ambiguities in the treatment of utility-scale biomass power as a renewable resource.
Letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture urging the agencies to put in place policies that clearly recognize the carbon neutrality of forest biomass.
Letter to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi urging them to work in a bi-partisan, bi-cameral fashion to secure full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for fiscal year (FY) 2016 and beyond.
Congressman Jones assisted in securing $8.95 million in Hurricane Sandy disaster dollars for the Oregon Inlet, which is critical to North Carolina’s coastal economy.