Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in response to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell’s retirement.
“Chief Tidwell has been an advocate for improving the health, resiliency and economic benefits of our national forest system. On a personal level, I am sad to see him go. His time working in Utah demonstrated that he understands the state well, and it is clear we’ve lost a friend with his retirement. We thank him for 40 years of public service to the agency and its mission. As our nation continues to face a forest health crisis, it is my hope that the Trump Administration acts swiftly to appoint new leadership at the Forest Service.”
Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and 118 additional Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary Zinke requesting the Department of the Interior to include consideration of all Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lands in the development of a new National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
“Just as today’s energy security is the result of production set in motion by decisions made years ago, the decisions on OCS leasing and development facing the Department today will lay the groundwork for our energy and national security for decades,” the letter states.
Members urge Secretary Zinke to consider all 26 OCS lands in the development of a New Leasing Plan. Currently, 94 percent of OCS lands are excluded under the 2017-2022 Five Year Leasing Plan, signed into effect by the Obama Administration.
“The safe and environmentally responsible development of our offshore resources not only enhances our status as an international energy superpower, but benefits the nation through increased job creation, additional government revenue, and affordable and reliable energy supplies for consumers and manufacturing. The time is now to make the U.S. energy dominant. Expanding access to the available resource potential of the OCS during the development of a new National Leasing Program can solidify our energy superpower position into the future,” the letter states.
Click here to read the full letter.
House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in reaction to President Trump’s executive order on establishing accountability in the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects.
“It’s encouraging to have a president who understands that regulatory reform is a precondition for any successful infrastructure policy. At the same time, there is no question that additional statutory tools are also necessary to reduce excessive regulatory burdens that make job-supporting and environmentally sound infrastructure projects all but impossible in this country. This order provides a strong foundation upon which Congress can build.”
This Congress, the Committee has held six infrastructure-related hearings and advanced a range of reforms across its jurisdiction to remove bureaucratic obstacles to greater infrastructure development and investment.
Committee Infrastructure Bills:
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a unanimous opinion that the U.S. Department of Energy conducted appropriate review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its approval of the Freeport LNG export terminal project. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:
“Today’s opinion is a short-term victory. NEPA was created as a guidepost for federal agencies conducting environmental reviews, not a weapon for environmental litigants to block energy infrastructure. Unless Congress enacts reforms to safeguard NEPA’s intent, the environmental lobby’s endless arsenal of procedural tactics will continue to paralyze all types of economic activities.”Read More
Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI) rescinded the Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (ONRR) “Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Rule.” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:
“This rescindment is another important step by the Trump administration to position Interior as a facilitator of responsible energy development. I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke on ONRR policies, and many other areas, to spur more investment in Federal and Indian lands, foster greater regulatory certainty and eliminate or address pre-existing policies that work against these goals.”
“The federal government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers when it comes to U.S. energy production, and this is exactly what the ONRR’s regulation did,” Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) stated. “By adding more red-tape, complexity, and confusion to the mineral valuation process, the regulation created uncertainty for businesses, a disincentive for responsible development of our natural resources on federal land, and ultimately hurt hardworking Americans, their families, and their communities the most. I am pleased that the Department of the Interior is acting to permanently rescind this rule.”
In June 2016, DOI issued its final rule valuating royalties from oil, natural gas and coal produced on Federal and Tribal lands. The rule, according to DOI, was designed "to offer greater simplicity, certainty, clarity, and consistency in product valuation for mineral lessees and mineral revenue recipients.” Click here to view Chairman Bishop's statement.
In April 2017, DOI issued a proposed rule to fully repeal the rule.Read More
Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement on the Federal appeals court ruling concerning protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“When science-based recovery criteria are met and environmental litigants can still drag the federal government through a decade of costly litigation before the delisting is final, we have a problem. Republicans and Democrats from impacted states have worked hard to resolve this conflict and ensure wolf populations are healthy and thriving but all they’ve received in return is prolonged economic harm and regulatory uncertainty. When ESA decisions are taken out of the hands of expert biologists and given to judges and radical ideologues, this is what happens.
“Congress must take action to protect communities from this broken law. Until we do, Americans’ tax dollars will continue padding the pockets of wealthy environmental trial lawyers, rather than investing in actual species recovery.”Read More
Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) introduced the Border Security for America Act. The bill includes a provision by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) preventing federal agencies from impeding U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) activities pertaining to illegal border crossings on federal lands. Chairman Rob Bishop, an original co-sponsor of the bill, issued the following statement:
“For too long federal land management agencies and regulatory policies have left us vulnerable. The status quo gives drug and human traffickers the upper hand as our federal border lands, including ecologically sensitive areas, remain exposed to illegal crossings and environmental degradation,” Chairman Bishop said. “We’ve been working on this initiative for a long time and with the Trump Administration’s commitment to border security, it’s time to move the ball forward. I thank Chairman McCaul for his work on this important package and look forward to working with him to move it through the House.”
Since 2010, Chairman Bishop has led oversight and legislative efforts to enhance border security and improve the CBP’s access to federal lands.
Section 112 of the Border Security for America Act prohibits the Departments of the Interior or Agriculture from impeding, prohibiting, or restricting CBP activities on federal land located within 100 miles of the Southern Border to execute search and rescue operations, and to prevent all unlawful entries into the United States.
Under current policies, federal border lands have become an unpatrolled highway that is open to criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers and terrorists who endanger American lives and cause severe environmental damage. The bill would free CBP from bureaucratic interferences that currently impact their ability to effectively secure these areas.
For additional information on the Border Security for America Act click here.Read More
Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on three bills to bring greater certainty to the mining industry and shield economic development and energy projects from politically motivated actions.
“[T]he effects [of the Obama Administration’s coal moratorium] were felt most by the people in my state who lost good paying mining jobs and the communities that were devastated by drastic reductions in the economic activity our coal industry supports. In Wyoming, this was not a war on coal, this was a direct attack on the livelihoods of the people of my state,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said. “The people of Wyoming deserve better and that’s why I introduced the bill before us today.”
H.R. 1778 (Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY) requires congressional approval of any order by the Interior Secretary imposing a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands.
“We believe that Congress should certainly have a say in the matter. For Wyoming, the state most directly and disproportionally affected, this is critical,” Executive Director of the Wyoming Mining Association Travis Deti stated. “This legislation is about shielding America’s most abundant, reliable and affordable energy resource from politically motivated administrations.”
In addition to the coal moratorium, the Obama Administration in 2016 unilaterally denied renewing mineral leases on National Forest land in Minnesota that were held since the late 1960s. In case that wasn’t enough, the Administration also proposed to withdraw over 200,000 acres from mineral exploration and development, which conveniently covered the area of these longstanding leases.
Rep. Tom Emmer’s (R-MN) discussion draft legislation corrects these injustices to the communities of Northeaster Minnesota by requiring congressional approval to withdraw any minerals on National Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota.
“We have the opportunity today to fix this. By considering this proposal, you are not authorizing any mining project in the Superior National Forest. We are simply recognizing the right of Minnesotans to exercise their mineral rights if any proposed mining can satisfy all the stringent environmental requirements,” Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) said.
“[The Obama Administration’s] arbitrary withdrawal of land will decimate the economic future of Northeastern Minnesota and a way of life available to future generations of Minnesotans,” Chairman of Jobs for Minnesotans Nancy Norr stated.
Norr estimates that new mining projects in the proposed withdrawal areas have the potential to generate more than $2.5 billion in royalties for the Minnesota education system and $1.5 billion in annual wages.
H.R. 3117 (Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-WV), the “Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act of 2017,” prohibits the use of ambiguous metrics in environmental rulemaking such as the social cost of carbon.
“The social cost of carbon and its siblings, the social cost of methane and social cost of nitrous oxide, have become political tools. Exaggerating the benefits of regulations to sell them to the American public is disingenuous. The nation is already making major strides to improve the environment and lower emissions. We can continue to do so without sacrificing economic growth,” Rep. Jenkins said.Click here to view full witness testimony. Read More
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3281 (Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO), the “Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act,” and H.R. 2371 (Rep. Paul Gosar, R-AZ), the “Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act.”
H.R. 3281 streamlines the process of transferring select Bureau of Reclamation projects or facilities to local water users in order to incentivize new non-federal investment in water infrastructure and afford more efficient management of water and water-related facilities.
“Transferring these low hanging fruit facilities is often a win-win allowing water districts to leverage non-federal financing through ownership equity while also decreasing federal liability. This legislation creates an optional process that can be used to help expedite the transfer of these easy projects through a streamlined administrative process while still maintaining important oversight. Prior title transfers have proven that local water users can do a better job managing something they own than when it is on the federal ledger,” Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Chairman Lamborn said. “My bill creates a solution to a problem that the current Administration and Democrats have identified and puts certainty into the title transfer process without weakening environmental protections or congressional oversight.”
H.R. 2371 establishes a pilot project to increase the transparency of the Western Area Power Administration’s (WAPA) costs, rates, and other financial and operational dealings for utility ratepayers and taxpayers.“Customers and Congress have been pushing for years for increased transparency of WAPA’s costs and rates. These reforms are desperately needed as auditors discovered nearly 12,000 questionable purchases totaling nearly $7 million in a two-year period alone. One of the agency’s customers recently told me it’s like WAPA has a credit card without a limit and we can’t see the statement,” Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Gosar said. “Customers have gone so far as to offer to pay for the transparency costs sought by this bill as long as they know exactly where their money is being spent. Sunshine on expenditures and increased transparency is good for any federal agency and I am thrilled to see the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act pass the Committee with unanimous bipartisan support.”
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 2199, the “Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform Act of 2017” or the “FLAIR Act.” Introduced by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), the bipartisan bill requires the Department of the Interior to create a publicly available register of federal real property to increase transparency and improve management of the federal estate.
“Federal land managers often do not have a precise picture of what lands the federal government owns because there is not one accurate database of federal lands and their boundaries. The FLAIR Act increases transparency and efficiency by conducting an inventory of its federal property holdings and integrating the findings into one database that can track and manage property. By adopting the FLAIR Act, we can improve federal land management, resource conservation, and environmental protection, all while reducing land ownership conflict and saving taxpayer dollars in the maintenance of one, efficient database,” Rep. Cramer said.Read More