WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2017 – (RealEstateRama) — The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources began a comprehensive legislative overhaul of federal onshore energy development with a legislative hearing to review targeted bills that reform the existing federal regulatory framework.
“Each of these bills seeks to facilitate responsible onshore energy production and promote economic development and diversification in energy producing States across the country,” Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said.
H.R. 3565, the “Federal Lands Freedom Act,” introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), allows States to seek primacy for the implementation of federal leasing, permitting and regulatory responsibilities for oil and gas development on federal lands.
“The key to sustainable, long term growth of federal minerals is a comprehensive long term energy strategy with focus on enhanced access, streamlined development approval and reasonable and protective environmental regulations. Delegating primary authority to the states would ensure environmentally-responsible development is possible without the lengthy delays associated with the federal onshore process,” Chairman of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming Paul Ulrich stated.
Anthony Ferate, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, explains that this is not a new concept as the Environmental Protect Agency currently grants primacy to states for the Underground Injection Control Program.
“State regulators are better situated to understand the geology of the state, [the] unique land issues at hand in a state and to know operators that function within state’s borders,” Ferate added.
A 2015 study by the Property and Environment Research Center found that the federal government loses money managing valuable natural resources on federal lands, while states generate significant financial returns from state trust lands. More specifically, for every dollar spent managing federal lands, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management earned 73 cents while state land trusts earned over $14.
H.R. 2907, the “Planning for American Energy Act of 2017,” introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), directs the Secretary of Interior to develop an all-of-the-above energy production plan strategy for all onshore federal lands every four years to ensure the nation’s long-term energy security.
“Affordable energy is the backbone of a strong economy. Low electric bills mean more money in family pockets. It makes a difference in quality of life from heat to groceries, from the light switch to the refrigerator,” Ulrich noted.
H.R. 2661, the “State Mineral Revenue Protection Act,” introduced by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), enables States to administer the collection of their share of mineral revenues produced on their lands, eliminating the need for the 2% administrative fee charged by the federal government. In fiscal year 2016, the fee collected almost $26 million, which could have been used by states to fund public services such as public school systems.
“These revenues that the States so badly need go for example to serve schools and some of our most economically hard hit areas. These are crucial revenues that the States need that we get from energy development and that energy is powering this nation,” Rep. Cheney said.