Alliance President to Testify in Oversight Hearing on Biden’s Overreaching Oil and Natural Gas Policies
DENVER – Western Energy Alliance’s president, Kathleen Sgamma, will testify at a hearing entitled “Unleashing America's Energy and Mineral Potential” before the House Natural Resources Committee. Sgamma’s testimony will focus on addressing overregulation by federal agencies, delays created by excessive environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, and corrections needed within the Inflation Reduction Act. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 8th, at 10:00 a.m. ET, and will be available on the committee’s website.
“We know we need more energy. The administration admitted that nearly a year ago when, after the
invasion of Ukraine, the White House tried to blame our producers for not developing on, interchangeably, 9,000 leases and/or permits,” said Sgamma. “The president says he wants more American production, but where he has the most control, on tribal and federal public lands, his Interior Department is making it more difficult to do so at every turn and with every policy decision.”
DENVER – Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) yesterday submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the proposed rule on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation. The associations urged the agency to implement targeted changes to portions of the proposed regulations on methane emissions that overstep the authority granted by Congress and reminded officials of the successful legal challenges to a similar rule in 2016.
“BLM can regulate waste of methane, but it does not have the authority to regulate air quality. The Clean Air Act gives that authority to EPA and the states, as affirmed by a federal court in striking down a similar rule from the Obama Administration. BLM makes some of the same mistakes in this rule as in the rule we successfully overturned,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. “In collaboration with universities and regulators, our members continue to advance technologies such as remote sensing and airborne detection with satellites, aircraft, and drones to more quickly detect and fix methane leaks in the field. This continual innovation has enabled the American oil and natural gas industry to decrease methane emissions by 23% since 1990, even as oil and natural gas production have increased 49% and 71%, respectively.”
DENVER – Western Energy Alliance this week joined 25 state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging the Department of Labor’s final rule on prudence and loyalty selecting plan investments for pension plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The rule enables investment managers to elevate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and climate change issues above fiduciary factors when making investments on behalf of retirees and workers. In addition to threatening financial returns for millions of workers and retirees, the rule is one of many the Biden Administration is enacting to deny financing for oil and natural gas projects, threatening the American energy supply, reducing energy security, and increasing energy prices. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on January 26, 2023.
DENVER – Western Energy Alliance submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding a proposed ten-mile zone around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park that would prevent oil and natural gas leasing in the area for the next 20 years. The Alliance’s comments on BLM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) stressed the severe economic impact to members of the Navajo Nation who own energy resources and urged the agency to accept the Tribe’s compromise of a five-mile buffer zone.
According to an analysis by Enduring Resources (contained in the docket), the withdrawal would prevent 233 horizontal wells and the production of 86 million barrels of oil and 25.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas, costing the federal government $51 million annually in lost royalties, or $1 billion over 20 years. Navajo mineral owners would lose an estimated $194.3 million over that 20-year period.
DENVER – Today, Western Energy Alliance and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW) filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of the Interior’s failure to hold oil and natural gas lease sales in the third quarter of 2022 as required under the Mineral Leasing Act. The associations filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming along with the State of Wyoming.
“The Mineral Leasing Act is clear: the Interior Secretary must hold at least quarterly lease sales in every state where there is interest, as reflected by nominations,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “Oil and natural gas companies have nominated millions of acres in Wyoming and across the West that have yet to be offered for sale. Not only has this administration held only one set of lease sales in its first two years, but has now signaled that there will be no sales until second quarter 2023, a full year later. Once a year does not equal ‘quarterly.’ Further, just before Thanksgiving the Interior Department released seven new policies that make it more difficult to lease and produce on public lands. The announcement came just days before the Administration gave the green light to Venezuelan development. Rather than buttressing up dictators, President Biden could tell his agencies to back off increasing red tape meant to suppress American production so that we can do more to reduce high energy prices for the country and the world.”