Congressman Rick Berg today voted to pass a series of bills that comprise the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. While speaking on the House Floor, Berg expressed the need for Washington to look to North Dakota for solutions regarding a nationwide domestic energy policy.
"In my home state of North Dakota, we are seeing unprecedented growth," Berg stated on the floor of the House of Representatives. "At three percent, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and we have nearly a two billion dollar budget surplus. A large part of our economic success is in no small part due to our comprehensive energy policy and commonsense regulatory environment. There is no reason why we should not be taking this proven approach to domestic energy production and applying it nationwide."
The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act embraces the country's vast natural resources capability as it pertains to energy production. Specifically, it requires the federal government to be a cooperative partner in efforts to harness the country's full potential of energy production.
The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act passed the House by a vote of 248-163. It will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Below is a summary of the seven bills comprising the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act.
· Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, H.R. 4480-- wouldlink tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to increasing energy production on federal lands. If the President releases oil from the SPR, the Administration will be required to develop a plan to lease more federal lands for exploration and production.
· Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012, H.R. 4471- would require an interagency committee to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain EPA rules and actions that impact the price of gasoline and diesel fuels. It will pause the implementation of the Tier 3 fuel standards, refinery New Source Performance Standards, and ozone standards until six months after the report is submitted to Congress, which should provide for a better understanding of the costs and consequences of these rules.
· Planning for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R.4381 - would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish an all-of-the-above energy program for federal lands by reviewing the nation's energy needs and then establishing goals for federal land energy production to meet those needs from all energy sources, oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.
· Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012, H.R 4382 - would: 1) require a minimum annual acreage leasing plan that makes available at least 25 percent of the lands open for leasing each year for which there is interest in development and 2) set firm timelines for the Secretary of the Interior to issue leases and adjudicate lease protests. It would also prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from withdrawing leases and adding additional lease stipulations after they have been sold.
· Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2012, H.R. 4383 - would ensure a reliable permitting process to increase American energy production. It would remove government roadblocks and bureaucratic red tape that hinder and delay American energy production and American job creation. It streamlines and reforms the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of our federal onshore oil, natural gas, and renewable resources.
· National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, H.R. 2150 - would create new jobs, support current energy jobs in Alaska, expand American energy production and lower energy costs by ensuring that oil and natural gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) are developed and transported in a timely, efficient manner.
· BLM Live Internet Auctions Act, H.R. 2752 - would give the Secretary of the Interior the authority to conduct Internet-based auctions for onshore leases to ensure the best return to the Federal taxpayer, reduce fraud, and secure the leasing process.