Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, today, I introduced the Removing Excess Litigation Involving Energy on Federal Lands Act, RELIEF Act. This legislation would help streamline judicial procedures for causes and claims regarding the leasing of Federal lands for the exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, or any other source or form of energy.
Excessive legal challenges have significantly delayed and in many cases prevented energy resources from reaching the American public. These oftentimes frivolous legal challenges have helped contribute to our nation's economic turmoil and skyrocketing energy costs.
The RELIEF Act would not take away anyone's "day in court;'' instead, it will simply streamline the process for all parties involved. This legislation would require that all claims be filed within 60 days of an action or decision and that any proceeding be resolved within 180 days of the claim being filed and gives precedence over other court proceedings. In addition, it requires that all appeals from the District Court be reviewed by the Supreme Court and that any proceeding be resolved within 180 days of the claim being filed. To deter frivolous lawsuits, it also requires that any person seeking judicial review of any action under this Act shall pay the prevailing party's legal fees and other expenses, unless the Court finds that the position of the person was substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award unjust.
As the economic downturn continues and energy prices soar, our nation must do everything in its power to access the abundant natural resources with which we have been blessed. I believe this legislation can play an important part in our nation's economic recovery by alleviating current energy costs, while also helping to ensure our energy future.