U.S. lawmakers spar over clean energy

July 14, 2011 at 7:16 AM

WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are using their renewable energy bills to slash environmental measures, a Democratic member said.

House Republicans moved a series of bills through the Committee on Natural Resources despite challenges from Democrats.

Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., spearheaded the package with a bill that orders the federal government to accept energy projects as proposed or reject them entirely.

"The current burdensome regulatory system discourages interest in renewable energy production on public lands and devalues the original multi-use purpose of these lands," Hastings said in a statement.

But Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the bills were a ruse meant to dismantle environmental measures and could lead to more coal, oil and natural gas development.

"These bills aren't just paying lip service to renewable energy, they do a disservice to the development of solar, wind, geothermal and other vital job-creating projects," Markey said in a statement.

The bills passed largely along party lines and move to the full House, which hasn't scheduled a vote in the measures.

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