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The legal angle to energy policy

House Republicans led by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana on Wednesday released details of their energy plan, a response to the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation. The GOP's American Energy Act embraces a broad approach toward producing more energy, calls for building 100 new nuclear power plants, and encourages conservation.

The sponsors describe the plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, "The GOP's Energy Alternative." Included are provisions to discourage excessive litigation designed solely to delay and harass project approvals.

While ensuring plaintiffs their day in court, our bill stops frivolous lawsuits designed to obstruct energy exploration. It does so by establishing a 60-day deadline on legal challenges and by requiring cases to be filed in the D.C. District Court, which has a particular expertise in energy litigation.

There really needs to be a broader public policy discussion about environmental lawsuits as damaging to economic growth and property rights. Passage of a Waxman-Markey type bill will just invite more of that sort of thing; as we argued in an earlier post, "Any legislation that seeks to regulate economic activity that emits carbon dioxide will by its very command-and-control nature invite litigation."

From the House GOP caucus:

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.