H.R. 1965: Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013

H.R. 1965

Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013

Date
November 19, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, November 19, 2013 the House will begin consideration of H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013, under a rule.  H.R. 1965 was introduced on May 14, 2013 by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.  H.R. 1965 was marked up on July 24, 2013 by the Committee on Natural Resources and was ordered to be reported, as amended, by a vote of 27-14.[1]

The Rules Committee Print of H.R. 1965 also includes the text of H.R.1394, the Planning for American Energy Act of 2013, as reported[2]; H.R. 1964, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, as reported[3]; H.R. 555, the BLM Live Internet Auctions Act, as reported[4]; and H.R. 1548, the Native American Energy Act, with modifications.[5]



[5] House Committee Report 113-263.  Sec. 6, BLM oil and gas fees, has been struck; and Sec. 7, Bonding requirements and nonpayment of attorneys’ fees to promote Indian energy projects (relabeled Sec. 5005, Judicial review, in the Rules Committee Print of H.R. 1965) has been rewritten.

 

Bill Summary

H.R. 1965 combines several bills aimed at expanding onshore energy production, streamlining permitting processes, and reducing red tape.  The following Summary and Background Information was provided by the House Natural Resources Committee:

Title I: Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act

  • The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-05), would streamline government roadblocks and bureaucratic red-tape that block and delay onshore American energy production and job creation.
  • 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.

Leasing

  • The Obama Administration has had the four lowest years of federal acres leased for energy production going back to 1988.
  • This bill would expand onshore energy production by requiring the Interior Secretary to conduct new lease sales in areas identified with the greatest energy potential, prohibit the Interior Secretary from taking away leases already sold, set firm timelines for the Secretary to issue leases, and prohibit the Secretary from changing the rules after the leases and contracts have been finalized.

Permitting

  • Under the Obama Administration, energy producers on federal lands have to wait on average 30 percent longer for approval of an application for permit to drill. While the average time to get a permit to drill approved on state lands is 12-15 days, according the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the average time to get a permit approved on federal lands is 307 days.
  • This bill would ensure the timely approval of permits by setting a firm timeline for the Interior Secretary to act on a permit to drill; direct 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; and ensure American energy projects are not indefinitely delayed by frivolous lawsuits by setting reasonable time limits for litigation.

Oil Shale

  • According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. holds more than half of the world’s oil shale resources - six times Saudi Arabia’s proven resources, and enough to provide the United States with energy for the next 200 years.
  • Since taking office the Obama Administration has repeatedly hindered oil shale development, preventing the production of this new energy resource and blocking the creation of thousands of American jobs.
  • This bill would direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue additional Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) leases within 180 days after enactment of bids published on January 15, 2009; direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue at least 5 separate commercial lease sales by January 1, 2016; provide regulatory certainty to oil and natural gas producers for commercial development; and provide the Secretary of the Interior the ability to temporarily reduce royalties and fees paid by oil producers in order to further incentivize and encourage energy development

Title II - The Planning for American Energy Act:

  • The Planning for American Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03), would establish common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan using our vast federal resources.
  • The bill ensures that our Nation’s energy needs are met through development of both traditional and alternative energy resources–a true all-of-the-above approach that will lower the cost of energy, grow our economy, and get Americans working.
  • Specifically, the Planning for American Energy Actwould:
    • Strengthen our energy security by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to develop a Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy (a strategic action plan) every four years on how to responsibly develop our federal onshore energy resources in order to meet the United States’ energy demands and promote the energy security of our Nation.
    • Require the Secretary to set production objectives for the development of our Federal resources. Also requires the Secretary to report annually to Congress on the progress of meeting these objectives.
    • Ensure the development of a true all-of-the-above energy plan that embraces all of America’s vast energy resources by requiring that oil, natural gas, coal, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil shale and minerals be included in the plan.

Title III - The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act:

  • The National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act, introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) and Rep. Don Young (AK-at large), would create new jobs, support current energy jobs in Alaska, expand American energy production, and lower energy costs by ensuring that oil and natural gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve -Alaska (NPR-A) are developed and transported in a timely, efficient manner.
  • The NPR-A was specifically established as a petroleum reserve in 1923 and again in 1981 when stewardship was passed from the Navy to the Interior Department. According to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey, there are over 896 million barrels of oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the NPR-A .
  • In February, the Obama Administration finalized a plan to close over half of the NPR-A to energy production. In addition, bureaucratic delays have slowed construction of necessary roads, bridges and pipelines needed to transport the energy out of the Reserve once it is produced and the Administration’s new management plan establishes a “special area” around the entire southeastern boundary of NPR-A.
  • Specifically, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Actwould:
    • Clearly state and affirm that the NPR-A is explicitly designated for the purpose of providing oil and natural gas resources to the United States.
    • Nullify the plan released by the Obama Administration in February 2013 and require the Interior Department to issue a new integrated activity plan.
    • Require that annual lease sales be held in the NPR-A in areas with the most oil and natural gas resources.
    • Streamline the permitting process to ensure lease sales actually lead to energy being produced and transported out of the NPR-A and delivered to the continental U.S.
    • Set firm timelines for infrastructure permits to be approved to ensure that bureaucratic delays do not prevent oil and natural gas resources from being transported out of the NPR-A.
    • Require the Secretary of the Interior to prepare a right-of-way plan detailing how existing and future leases will be within 25 miles of an approved road or pipeline.

Title IV - The BLM Live Internet Auctions Act:

  • The BLM Live Internet Auctions Act, introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06), would modernize and update the bidding process for federal onshore oil and natural gas leases, bringing the process into the 21st century and saving taxpayer dollars.
  • It gives the Secretary of the Interior the authority to conduct Internet-based auctions for onshore leases to ensure the best return to the Federal taxpayer, reduce fraud, and secure the leasing process.

Title V - The Native American Energy Act:

  • The Native American Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Don Young (AK-at large), would streamline burdensome and duplicative government regulations and remove the barriers erected by the Obama Administration that are blocking Indian tribes from developing energy resources on their own land and creating new jobs.
  • In some Indian communities, the highest-wage jobs held by tribal members are those in the oil, natural gas, and mining industries. H.R. 1548 enhances the ability of tribes to create new jobs in energy industries on Indian lands.
  • Specifically, the Native American Energy Act would:
    • Protect Indian jobs by blocking ANY federal rule on hydraulic fracturing from taking effect on Indian Trust Lands unless it is with the consent of the Indian owners of the lands.
    • Discourage unnecessary and frivolous lawsuits that are specifically designed to prevent Indians from producing energy on their own land and eliminate taxpayer compensation to those filing frivolous lawsuits to prohibit energy development on Indian lands.
    • Requires that any environmental impact statement for a major federal action on a tribe’s land, required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to be available for public comment only by members of the affected Indian tribe and other individuals within the affected area.
    • Allows the Navajo Nation to conduct their own mineral leasing without involvement of the Department of the Interior as long as the leasing is conducted under Navajo tribal leasing laws that received prior approval from the Secretary of the Interior.

Cost

The CBO report for the Rules Committee Print of H.R. 1965 is forthcoming.  The Legislative Digest will be updated when the report is released.  Individual CBO cost estimates for each bill, as it was reported out of the Natural Resources Committee, are provided below.

According to CBO estimates,

  • Implementing HR. 1965 “would increase offsetting receipts, which are treated as reductions in direct spending, by $325 million over the 2014-2023 period.”  The bill would increase discretionary spending by $329 million over the same period, assuming necessary appropriations.
  • Implementing H.R. 1394 would cost $15 million over the 2014-2018 period.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.
  • Implementing H.R. 1964 would cost $2 million over the 2014-2015 period.  The bill could affect direct spending, therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
  • Implementing H.R. 555 would cost $2 million over the 2014-2018 period.  The bill could affect direct spending, therefore pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
  • Implementing H.R. 1548 would cost $29 million over the 2014-2018 period.  However, the text of the bill included in the Rules Committee Print of H.R. 1965 strikes the portion of the bill that imposed a cost

Amendments

1)         Rep. Hastings (R-WA) Manager’s Amendment #12 – Amendment adjusts the amount of  funds authorized to be made available to BLM field offices for energy permitting to ensure the bill has a positive (deficit reducing) score.

2)         Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX) Amendment #5 – Amendment preserves First Amendment Right to Petition.

3)         Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA) Amendment #3 – Amendment allows the Secretary of Interior to continue to review  actions that generally qualify for Categorical Exclusions to NEPA for possible Extraordinary Circumstances (e.g. Violations of a Federal law, or a State, local, or tribal law or requirement) which would then supersede the Categorical Exclusion and require further NEPA review.

4)         Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX) Amendment #6 – Amendment eliminates prohibition of award of attorney fees which otherwise would be recoverable under Equal Access to Justice Act.

5)         Rep. Hanabusa (D-HI) Amendment #4 – Amendment requires the Secretary of Interior in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture to include in their Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy, the best estimate, based upon commercial and scientific data, of the expected increase in domestic production of geothermal, solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources on lands designated as Hawaiian Home Lands that the state agency or department responsible for the administration of these lands selects to be used for energy production.                                                                                                      

6)         Rep. Marino (R-PA) Amendment #13 – Amendment requires the Secretary of Interior to include Federal lands as a part of its plan to address new demands for oil and gas pipelines.

7)         Reps. Polis (D-CO) and Huffman (D-CA) Amendment #9 – Amendment requires the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to study and report to Congress about the impact of flooding on oil and gas facilities and the resulting instances of leaking and spills from tanks, wells, and pipelines.

8)         Rep. DeFazio (D-OR) Amendment #1 – Amendment authorizes $10 million of the revenue generated by the underlying bill for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to use existing authority to limit speculation in energy markets.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.