Members of the House Natural Resources Committee introduced two bills to protect and expand U.S. onshore energy production on federal lands. The bills would remove government roadblocks and hurdles that delay American energy production, promote production of our oil shale resources, and ensure that oil and natural gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) are developed and transported in a timely, efficient manner.
"Our onshore federal lands contain incredible potential for energy production, job creation, and economic growth. Yet federal red-tape and regulations imposed by the Obama Administration are keeping these resources under tight lock-and-key," said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). "These bills will help protect our oil and natural gas resources from onerous, duplicative federal regulatory hurdles and streamline the process so that energy production on federal lands can be as successful on private and state lands."
A legislative hearing on the bills will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. The hearing will also include H.R. 555, the BLM Live Internet Auctions Act by Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06) and H.R. 1394, Planning for American Energy Act by Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03).
The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act (H.R. 1965), introduced by Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), would streamline government hurdles that block and delay development of our onshore oil and natural gas and renewable energy resources. The bill would reform the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal lands to eliminate unnecessary delays; reform the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of our federal resources; ensure funds are available for efficient wind and solar permitting; and set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources.
"America has vast untapped energy resources but the Obama Administration has repeatedly blocked and delayed the development of energy on federal lands. By allowing us to responsibly develop our vast energy reserves, these bills will not only create jobs, but will lower energy costs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Subcommittee Chairman Lamborn.
The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act (H.R. 1964), introduced by Chairman Hastings and Rep. Don Young (AK-at large) would cut through bureaucratic red tape to unlock the full potential of energy resources in the NPR-A by ensuring that oil and natural gas are developed and transported in a timely and efficient manner. The NPR-A was specifically set aside for energy production and according to the U.S. Geological Survey could contain over 2.7 billion barrels of oil and 114.36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. In February, the Obama Administration announced final plans to close over half of the NPR-A to energy production.
The bill would require annual lease sales to be held in the NPR-A, streamline the permitting process to ensure timely development of resources, and set firm timelines for infrastructure permits to be approved. It would also nullify the plan released by the Obama Administration in February 2013 and require the Interior Department to issue a new integrated activity plan.
"Continually, the Obama Administration boasts that oil and natural gas production in the United States has increased, but everyone knows that those increases are a result of drilling taking place on state and private land. Today's legislation would add some truth to their misleading statement by furthering responsible resource development in promising areas of the NPR-A," said Rep. Young. "Most importantly, this legislation nullifies the Obama Administration's flawed recent NPRA management plan, and requires that it be replaced with a plan that supports, rather than hinders, resource development. If producers can't drill in the NPRA, then where can they drill?"
Similar legislation was introduced last Congress and passed by the House with bipartisan support.