Oversight hearings are an important way to hold the Administration accountable, especially at a time of gridlock in Congress when there’s virtually no chance of getting legislation signed into law. Over the last few years, Western Energy Alliance has fielded seventeen expert witnesses in ten committee hearings including House Natural Resources; Energy and Commerce; Oversight and Government Reform; Science, Space and Technology; and Small Business. Below are some examples.
◊ Energy in America: BLM’s Red-Tape Run Around and its Impact on American Energy Production held by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Witnesses included Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, and Katie Schroder, Bjork Lindley Little and Alliance Board Member.
◊ Federal Regulation: Economic, Job and Energy Security Implications of Federal Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation held by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy & Minerals. Witnesses included Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs.
◊ DOI Hydraulic Fracturing Rule: A Recipe for Government Waste, Duplication and Delay held by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. Witnesses included John Byrom, President & CEO of DJ Simmons, Inc. and an Alliance Board of Advisors member.
The following bills are important for increasing development and production of oil and natural gas on federal public lands. Western Energy Alliance supports these important bills.
◊ S. 2440 BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act of 2014 would provide funding to BLM field offices for APD processing based on workflow, with some funding directly remaining at the field office of origin. Would replace the current rigid system of funding flowing to just seven named “pilot offices” without regard to actual workflow. Sponsor: Sen. Tom (D-NM) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
◊ H.R. 4716 and S. 2394 Sage Grouse Protection and Conservation Act would delay a listing determination for ten years to allow states to prove their tailored, on-the-ground conservation plans are more effective at protecting sage grouse than a one-size-fits-all federal approach. Sponsors Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).
◊ H.R. 4315 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act would require data used by federal agencies for ESA listing decisions to be made publicly available and accessible through the Internet. Sponsor: Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA).
◊ H.R. 4316 Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act would require the Interior Secretary to report and comprehensively track ESA litigation costs, including attorney's fees. Sponsor: Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
◊ H.R. 4317 State, Tribal and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act would require the federal government to disclose all data prior to an ESA decision and to include data provided by states, tribes, and local governments in ESA decisions. Sponsor: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX).
◊ H.R. 4318 Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act would cap hourly fees paid to attorneys that prevail in cases filed under ESA. Sponsor: Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI).
S.2083 American Job Creation and Strategic Alliances LNG Act: to expedite LNG terminal applications for export to our allies. Sponsor: Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).
◊ H.R. 2728 Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act amends the Mineral Leasing Act to prevent the Department of the Interior from issuing hydraulic fracturing regulations. The bill requires DOI to defer to states, which have the expertise and exemplary safety record regulating fracking over decades. Sponsor: Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX).
◊ H.R. 4480 and S. 1401 Domestic Energy and Jobs Act to provide for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production from oil and gas leases on Federal lands. Sponsor: Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). Status: Passed by House of Representatives
◊ H.R. 1394 Planning for American Energy Act of 2013 to direct the Interior Secretary to establish goals for an all-of-the-above energy production strategy on a four-year basis on all onshore federal lands managed by the DOI and Forest Service. Includes a programmatic environmental impact statement for energy development within twelve months. Sponsor: Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)
◊ H.R. 4382 Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act to ensure federal oil and natural gas lease sales occur, eliminate redundant leasing bureaucracy, and provide leasing certainty. Sponsor: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
- Requires that at least 25% of nominated acreage be offered for sale
- Protects lease rights by preventing indefinite delay of project approvals, permits, and rights-of-way
- Reduces the timelines from nomination to sale
- Requires adjudication of lease protests and issuance of parcels within sixty days of sale
- Reduces withdrawal of lease parcels prior to sale and eliminates retroactive withdrawal after sale
- Prevents the retroactive addition of stipulations to leases after sale
- Requires leasing to continue in areas designated as open under current Resource Management Plans (RMP) until such time as new RMPs are approved.
◊ H.R. 1965 Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act to streamline the application for permits to drill (APD) process and increase funds for energy project permit processing. Sponsor: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
- Reinforces the thirty day timeline for the Department of the Interior (DOI) to issue permits to drill
- Deems APDs approved after sixty days if not specifically denied
- Requires $6,500 APD fee payment only after approval or denial
- Requires 50% of APD fees to remain at the field office
- Levies a $5,000 Administrative Protest Documentation fee for any lease, ROW, or APD protest
- Establishes a federal permit streamlining project
- Clarifies the venue for bringing legal action against an energy project
- Clarifies the ninety-day statute of limitations to file a legal action challenging an energy decision
- Reduces the statute of limitations for legal challenges to energy projects from six years to 90 days
- Limits the duration of preliminary injunctions to halt leases or projects on public lands to 60 days
- Clarifies standing requirements for challengers to energy projects.
◊ S. 1234 and H.R. 2513 Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act – To clarify that the State has the sole authority to regulate fracing on federal land within the boundaries of the State. Sponsors: Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep’s Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and others
◊ S. 1233 and H.R. 2511 Federal Land Freedom Act of 2013 - To delegate to states the leasing, permitting and regulation of oil and natural gas on federal lands within their borders. Sponsors: Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and others
◊ H.R. 367 Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act – To provide congressional oversight of regulations with over $100 million worth of economic cost. Sponsor: Todd Young (R-IN) Status: Passed by House of Representatives
◊ H.R.4301 Energy Exploration & Production to Achieve National Demand (EXPAND) Act – To increase domestic energy production and streamline regulatory permitting processes. Sponsor: Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
◊ H.R. 4377 Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act – To provide deadlines for National Environmental Policy Act analysis. Sponsor: Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)
◊ H.R. 1881 and S. 17 Energy Production and Project Delivery Act of 2013 – To address the nation’s energy, job, and financial crisis by unleashing domestic energy resources, creating thousands of well-paying jobs, and generating significant federal revenues from energy production. Sponsors: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
◊ S. 244 Bureau of Land Management Streamlining Act – To amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to expand the administrative area of the Miles City, Montana BLM field office to include federal lands in North Dakota under the Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project. Sponsors: Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND)
◊ H.R. 1314 and S.19 - To amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to address regulatory impacts from closed-door litigation settlements between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental organizations. The bill would give states, counties and other affected parties a say in the settlement of ESA lawsuits and would prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from being used to fund these lawsuits. Sponsors: Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
◊ H.R. 3037 - Government Litigation Savings Act - To limit access to taxpayer funded reimbursements under the Equal Access to Justice Act for repeated, procedural lawsuits against the federal government. Sponsor: Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
◊ S. 1482 - Empower States Act of 2013 - To recognize the primacy of States, provide for the consideration of the economic impact of additional regulations, and provide for standards and requirements relating to certain guidelines and regulations relating to health and the environment. Sponsor: Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
◊ S. Amdt. 1863 to S. 1392 Regarding EPA regulations to clean up haze over Class I Wilderness areas and National Parks. To prohibit EPA from substituting for a state plan any federal plan that would cost more than $100 million per year to implement or $300 million over several years. Sponsors: Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
◊ S. Amdt. 1892 to S. 1392 To require the Department of the Interior to increase energy development on public lands by 30 percent over the next 30 years. Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
◊ S. Amdt. 1909 to S. 1392 To allow states to regulate oil and gas exploration and production on public lands.
Sponsors: Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
◊ S. Amdt. 1864 to S. 1392 To require a full 50 percent of onshore energy royalties to be paid to the states.
Sponsors: Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)