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Natural Resources Republicans Unveil Legislation to Expand Onshore American Energy Production, Lower Gas Prices

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18, 2012 - In the spirit of House Republicans’ American Energy Initiative, Republican Members of the Natural Resources Committee today unveiled a series of bills to expand onshore American energy production, lower gasoline prices and create new American jobs. The three all-of-the-above onshore energy bills would streamline government hurdles and regulations that block and delay development of our onshore renewable, oil and natural gas resources. The bills are focused on creating more reliable and effective processes for the planning (H.R. 4381), leasing (H.R. 4382) and permitting (H.R. 4383) of energy on federal lands.

“American families and small businesses across the country are feeling the pain at the pump and the best way to combat high gasoline prices is by expanding production of our American energy resources,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). “Unfortunately, too often government roadblocks and hurdles are the biggest impediment to American energy production and job creation. These bills will cut through the webs of bureaucratic red tape that are slowing and blocking production of our onshore energy resources.”

  • H.R. 4381, Planning for American Energy Act (Tipton, CO-03)
  • This bill establishes common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan for using federal lands to meet our Nation’s energy needs. Specifically, the bill:

    ✓ Strengthens our energy security by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to develop a strategic plan every four years on how to responsibly develop our federal onshore energy resources in order to meet the United States’ energy demands. 

    ✓ Requires that oil, natural gas, coal, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil shale and minerals needed for energy development be included in the plan.

    ✓ Represents a true all-of-the-above energy plan that embraces all of America’s vast energy resources.

    “It’s great to talk about the need for an all-of-the-above energy strategy in this country, but in order to make it a reality and turn words into action, there needs to be a plan,” said Rep. Scott Tipton. “The Planning for American Energy Act puts a common sense plan into place by requiring that our nation’s energy needs are met through development of traditional and alternative energy resources with a true all-of-the-above approach that will lower the cost of energy, jumpstart economic recovery, and get Americans working.”

  • H.R. 4382, The Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act (Coffman, CO-06)
  • This bill makes reforms to the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal land in order to eliminate unnecessary government delays and hurdles. Specifically, the bill:

    ✓ Expands onshore energy production by requiring the Interior Secretary to conduct new lease sales in areas identified with the greatest energy potential. In 2011, the Interior Department, in several states, only conducted lease sales on a small fraction of new land that was identified as having the greatest energy potential: 3 percent in Colorado, 8 percent in California, 7 percent in Utah and zero in Alaska and Arizona.

    ✓ Provides certainty to American energy producers by prohibiting the Interior Secretary from taking away leases already sold, setting firm timelines for the Secretary to issue leases, and prohibiting the Secretary from changing the rules after the leases and contracts have been finalized.

    ✓ Ensures that leasing on federal lands is not delayed while the federal government rewrites or adjusts local Resource Management Plans (RMP). The RMP is used to guide all resource decisions in an area of federal lands. The development of RMPs often takes years of planning and public comment, which allows it to be used as a “de facto” excuse to block new American energy production.

    “Although the President is taking credit for increased production, the truth is that his Administration has spent nearly four years blocking and delaying domestic energy production,” said Rep. Mike Coffman. “In Colorado, new issued leases for oil and gas production have dropped -- from 363 in 2006 to only 11 in 2011. This is costing us jobs and increasing what Americans pay for energy and families can’t afford for this trend to continue.”

  • H.R. 4383, The Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act (Lamborn, CO-05)
  • This bill 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. Specifically, the bill:

    ✓ Supports increased onshore energy production by streamlining the permitting process and eliminating bureaucratic delays.

    ✓ Ensures the timely approval of permits by setting firm timelines for the Interior Secretary to act on a permit to drill.

    ✓ Directs a portion of permit processing fees and rights of way fees to the local office where they were collected in order ensure the permitting agencies have the personnel, expertise and resources to keep American oil, natural gas, wind and solar production on track by processing permits, leases and protests in a timely manner.

    ✓ Ensures American energy projects are not indefinitely delayed by frivolous lawsuits by setting reasonable time limits for litigation. Sets a 90 day time limit to file a legal challenge to an energy project, requires the venue for actions challenging the energy project to be the judicial district where the project is located, and limits any preliminary injunctions to halt energy projects to 60 days unless the court finds clear reason to extend the injunction.

    “Two of the biggest stumbling blocks to energy production and job creation are federal red tape and frivolous lawsuits. Additionally, they dramatically increase the cost of gasoline Americans pay at the pump. Americans are fed up with excessive big government regulations and want a return to common sense policies,” said Energy and Minerals Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn.


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