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Bishop on GAO Report: America’s Offshore Energy Potential Undermined by Bureaucratic Dysfunction


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2018 -

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) released a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlighting the failure of federal agencies during the previous administration to provide efficient, effective and transparent permitting for seismic research in America's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  Chairman Bishop, who requested the report in March 2016, issued the following statement: 

“Seismic research is vital to unlocking energy potential off our coasts, and federal red tape is standing in the way. GAO’s report highlights the bureaucratic dysfunction, lack of transparency and blatant abuses of discretion that has stalled greater exploration and development. Congress has an obligation to take corrective action, and with the passage of the SECURE American Energy Act, we will.”

Click here to read the full report.  

Background:

The Offshore Continental Shelf Lands Act states “the outer Continental Shelf is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the public, which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental safeguards, in a manner which is consistent with the maintenance of competition and other national needs.”

Unfortunately, the current federal regulatory process to permit scientific exploratory activity is riddled with bureaucratic delays, leaving little incentive for companies to move forward on the prospect of energy development in the OCS.  For example, incidental harassment authorization permit applications the National Marine Fisheries Service received in mid-2014 are still in review, over one thousand days after the applications were first submitted.

In March 2016, Chairman Bishop sent a letter to the GAO with concerns about the consistency, timeliness and transparency of seismic permitting approvals, and requested detailed information on related processes.

According to GAO's report, federal agencies permitting related research "do not analyze their review time frames, a practice that is inconsistent with federal standards for internal control." Further, federal agencies will remain "unable to determine whether they are meeting their statutory review time frame of 120 days."  

H.R. 4239, the bipartisan Secure American Energy Act, reduces delays in seismic research by authorizing entities to avoid duplicative regulation and related delays.  

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Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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