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Introducing ... Dark Scott Peters

Jun 15, 2023

Photo: Eric Lee on behalf of Axios

Changing the Endangered Species Act should be on the table for a faster energy transition, Rep. Scott Peters says.

Why it matters: It used to just be NEPA. Now some Dems like Peters want to look at changing other old environmental laws once considered untouchable.

Driving the news: Peters went guns blazing against the environmental movement's left flank at an Axios event Wednesday, alleging some opposed to changing the laws risked "trade-off denial."

  • Peters said the ESA and other laws on "historical preservation" should be on the table when negotiating on future permitting bills geared at hastening the energy transition, so that the U.S. can meet its decarbonization targets.
  • "The snowy owls hate it when the forests burn down," he said.
  • Peters also punched at people criticizing Biden over his fossil fuel policies and for promoting individual oil and gas projects, saying the decision to include MVP in the debt deal was "obviously a good trade."
  • "To trade off one pipeline to get the IRA, that’s a deal that every climate activist should do every day of the week," he said.

Between the lines: Endangered species issues have undermined specific projects related to the energy transition, like a lithium mine in Nevada.

  • Democrats were pretty uniform against the Trump administration's ESA regulations. But the pressure to ensure that the IRA works and results in swift emissions reductions means the past may no longer be prologue.

The big picture: It's increasingly likely we'll see bipartisan support for tweaking environmental laws addressing permits that extend beyond just NEPA.

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