H.R. 4480: The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

H.R. 4480

The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act

Sen. Bernard Sanders

June 19, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4480, the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, subject to a rule. The bill was introduced on April 24, 2012, by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and referred to the committees on Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Armed Services.

On May 17, 2012, the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a mark-up on the bill and the legislation was reported, as amended, by a vote of 31-16.  The bill considered under the rule is a modified version of H.R. 4480 which incorporates seven bills that were reported out of the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources.  The rule (H.Res. 691) makes 27 amendments in order.  A summary of the amendments made in order under the bill is available following the bill’s summary.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4480 would incorporate five bills approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources (H.R. 4381, H.R. 4382, H.R. 4383, H.R. 2150, and H.R. 2752) and two bills approved by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (H.R. 4480 and H.R. 4471).  The following is a summary of each of the seven titles (formerly stand-alone bills) included in H.R. 4480.


TITLE I—Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012


H.R. 4480 would link tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to increasing energy production on federal lands.  The bill would require that if the president releases oil from the SPR, the Administration be required to develop a plan to lease more federal lands for exploration and production.  The bill would not limit the ability of the president to release oil from the SPR.  The bill would not open more than 10 percent of federal lands to leasing and would not allow leasing on federal lands managed under the National Park Service or National Wilderness Preservation System.  H.R. 4480 would also require that the Secretary of Energy consult with the Secretaries of Agriculture, Interior, and Defense, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and other state, environmentalist, and oil and gas industry stakeholders in developing the plan to lease more federal lands for exploration and production.   


TITLE II—Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012


H.R. 4480 would require the president establish an interagency committee (the Transportation Fuels Regulatory Committee) to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and actions that impact the price of gasoline and diesel fuels.  It would halt the implementation of the Tier 3 fuel standards, refinery New Source Performance Standards, and ozone standards until six months after the report is submitted to Congress, which should provide for a better understanding of the costs and consequences of these rules.


The bill would require the interagency committee to assess the combined impacts of recent or planned major environmental regulations on the price of gasoline and diesel fuels.  It would analyze the cumulative impact on jobs, our economy, global economic competitiveness of the United States, and the effect of regulations on capital investment.  H.R. 4480 would assess how regulations affect consumers, small businesses, state, local and tribal governments, local and industry-specific labor markets, and public health.  The bill would require that an initial draft of the report be made available for public comment within 90 days of enactment of the legislation, and a final report by the interagency committee would be due no later than 60 days after the close of the public comment period.


TITLE III—Planning for American Energy Act of 2012


The bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish an all-of-the-above energy program for federal lands by reviewing the nation’s energy needs and then establishing goals for federal land energy production to meet those needs from all energy sources, oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.


H.R. 4480 would require 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.


The bill would require the Secretary to set production objectives for the development of our federal resources and would also require the Secretary to report annually to Congress on the progress of meeting these objectives.  H.R. 4480 would ensure the development of an 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 are included in the plan.


TITLE IV—Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2012


H.R. 4480 would require a minimum annual acreage leasing plan that makes available at least 25 percent of the lands open for leasing each year for which there is interest in development and would set firm timelines for the Secretary of the Interior to issue leases and adjudicate lease protests.  The bill would also prohibit the Secretary from withdrawing leases and adding additional lease stipulations after they have been sold.


The bill would expand onshore energy production by requiring the Secretary to conduct new lease sales in areas identified with the greatest energy potential.  The bill would provide certainty to American energy producers by prohibiting the Interior Secretary from taking away leases already sold.  H.R. 4480 would ensure 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.)


TITLE V—Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2012


H.R. 4480 would streamline and reform 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 would set a firm 30-day timeline for the Secretary of the Interior to act on a permit to drill.  The bill would allow the Secretary to request an extension if the applicant is given written notice of the reason for delay and specific date of final decision.  H.R. 4480 would direct 50 percent of the permit processing fees and rights of way fees to the local office where they were collected in order to 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.


The bill would also state that it is the intent of Congress that this title “support a healthy and growing U.S. domestic energy sector that, in turn, helps to reinvigorate American manufacturing, transportation, and service sectors by employing the vast talents of U.S. workers to assist in the development of energy from domestic sources … The Secretary of the Interior shall, when possible and practicable, encourage the use of U.S. workers and equipment manufactured in the U.S. in all construction related to mineral resources development.”


H.R. 4480 would set a 90 day time limit to file a legal challenge to an energy project; and would require the venue for actions challenging the energy project to be the judicial district where the project is located.  The bill would also limit any preliminary injunctions to halt energy projects to 60 days unless the court finds clear reason to extend the injunction.


TITLE VI—National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act


H.R. 4480 would state and affirm that the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) is explicitly designated for the purpose of providing oil and natural gas resources to the United States.  The bill would require that annual lease sales be held in the NRP-A in areas with the most oil and natural gas resources and would streamline the permitting process to ensure lease sales lead to energy being produced and transported out of the NPR-A and delivered to the continental U.S.


The bill would 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.  H.R. 4480 would establish a 60 day timeframe to approve infrastructure permits for leases where the Secretary has already issued a permit to drill and a six month timeframe to approve infrastructure permits for all other existing and future Federal leases.


H.R. 4480 would 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, and would require an updated comprehensive assessment, in consultation with the State of Alaska and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, of all oil and natural gas resources in the NPR-A.


TITLE VII—Bureau of Land Management Live Internet Auctions Act


H.R. 4480 would give 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.


In response to the recent increase in gas prices, some have called for the president to again release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a way to bring prices down.  According to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, this is a politically expedient response that fails to provide a long-term solution.  Experience has shown that releasing oil from the SPR as a market manipulation tool has a short lived impact on the price of gasoline. 

The SPR is a stockpile of oil set aside for use in an emergency, such as a disruption of oil imports from the Middle East.  It can only last for a matter of months, and then would need to be replenished. Moreover, its use for political purposes threatens our security in the event of a real national security threat.  In contrast, increased domestic drilling on federal lands would provide a genuine addition to the nation’s oil supply, and one that would last for decades instead of mere months.

The Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012 would require the Secretary of Energy to develop a plan to increase the percentage of federal lands leased for oil and gas production after the next SPR sale.  Currently only three percent of federal land is leased for oil and gas development.  The increase in the percentage of federal lands leased would be commensurate with the percentage that was drawn down from the SPR.  The lands available for leasing would be among the vast 2.4 billion acres of government lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Department of Defense.  The bill would not allow leasing on federal lands managed under the National Park Service or National Wilderness Preservation System.


According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), enacting the bill would reduce direct spending by $385 million over the 2013-2022 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.  Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.  In addition, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $189 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.

The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.


Amendment No. 1—Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA): The manager’s amendment would make technical corrections, eliminate the designation of the Colville River as an Aquatic Resource of National Importance and require additional right of ways planned into and out of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska.

Amendment No. 2—Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): The amendment would exclude hydraulic fracturing activities within 1,000 feet of a primary or secondary school.

Amendment No. 3—Reps. Lee Terry (R-NE), Connie Mack (R-FL): The amendment would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline (from the Canadian border to the South Dakota/Nebraska border) within 30 days from the day an application is submitted to the FERC.  The amendment would state that if FERC has not acted on an application for a permit within 30 days, the permit shall be deemed to have been issued upon the expiration of the 30-day period.

Amendment No. 4—Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL): The amendment would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from conducting or authorizing any leasing, exploration, or development of oil and gas resources of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) unless “sound science shows that such activities can proceed with minimal risk to the health of the marine environment and coastal environment.”  The amendment would require that the Secretary have a “thorough” understanding of the marine environment and coastal environment, the risks of exploration or development, the potential consequences of accidents, and determine that risks are minimal before any leasing, exploration, or development occur in the OCS.

Amendment No. 5—Rep. David McKinley (R-WV): The amendment would require the consultation and input of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under the Transportation Fuels Regulatory Committee.

Amendment No. 6—Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)
: The amendment would require an analysis be conducted relating to any other matters that affect the growth, stability, and sustainability of the nation’s oil and gas industries, particularly relating to that of other nations.  The amendment would require the Committee to look at the actions, or inaction, of other nation’s regulations, enforcements, and matters relating to the oil and gas industry, and how they have either helped positively or negatively towards the oil and gas industries in those other nations.

Amendment No. 7—Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)
: The amendment would prohibit the Administrator of the EPA from delaying the finalization of any rules to establish standards for clean air and to reduce air pollution. 


Amendment No. 8—Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA): The amendment would define “public health” to mean the “health of members of the species homo sapiens, and does not refer to the health of corporations or any other non-living entities.”


Amendment No. 9—Rep. Gene Green (D-TX): The amendment would strike section 206 of the bill, which would require the consideration of feasibility and costs in revising or supplementing national ambient air quality standards for ozone.


Amendment No. 10—Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE): The amendment would give the EPA the ability to waive certain fuel requirements in a geographic area, when there is a problem with distribution or delivery of fuel or fuel additives, for a period of 20 days, which could also be extended for another 20 days if the conditions exist.  The amendment would direct the EPA and Department of Energy to conduct the Fuel Harmonization Study required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by June 2014.


Amendment No. 11—Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL): The amendment would require the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration make a determination no later than 90 days after the date of enactment as to whether implementation of the bill is projected to lower gasoline prices or create jobs in the U.S. within 10 years.  The amendment would require EPA regulations go forward if implementation does not lower gas prices or create jobs.


Amendment No. 12—Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ): The amendment would state that is it the strategy of the legislation to seek to ensure that the percentage of onshore federal oil and gas leases under which production is not occurring is reduced during the next four-year period.


Amendment No. 13—Rep. John Lewis (D-GA): The amendment would reserve the right for people to petition for the redress of grievances.


Amendment No. 14—Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV): The amendment would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from moving any aspect of the Solid Minerals program administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM).


Amendment No. 15—Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA): The amendment would prohibit any oil and gas produced under a lease issued under the bill be offered for sale outside of the U.S.


Amendment No. 16—Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA): The amendment would raise the cap of revenue shared among the Gulf States who produce energy on the OCS starting in FY 2023 from $500 million to $750 million.


Amendment No. 17—Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA): The amendment would require the Secretary of the Interior include OCS Lease Sale 220 off the coast of Virginia in the five year plan for OCS oil and gas drilling and to conduct Lease Sale 220 within one year of enactment.  The amendment would also ensure that no oil and gas drilling may be conducted off the coast of Virginia which would conflict with military operations.


Amendment No. 18—Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ): The amendment would add additional requirements for attaining leases from the Secretary of the Interior and would seek to “require oil companies to pay to receive new leases on public lands.”


Amendment No. 19—Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Scott Rigell (R-VA): The amendment would streamline the process for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to approve temporary infrastructure, such as towers or buoys, to test and develop offshore wind power in the OCS.


Amendment No. 20—Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Bruce Braley (D-IA): The amendment would lessen the regulatory burden on deli-style display cases by putting Service-Over-the-Counter (SOTC) refrigerator units in a separate product classification.


Amendment No. 21—Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA): The amendment would require the Transportation Fuels Regulatory Committee to conduct an analysis of how to shield American consumers and the U.S.  economy from gasoline price fluctuations and supply disruptions in the oil market.


Amendment No. 22—Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA): The amendment would require the Transportation Fuels Regulatory Committee to assess the “releases of pollutants (including toxic, hazardous, and radioactive materials) into the air, water, and land; human exposure to releases of pollutants into the air, water, and land; and other environmental impacts of pollution.”  


Amendment No. 23—Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA): The amendment would require that if the Secretary of Energy determines that the analyses required under section 203 are infeasible to conduct, require data that does not exist, or would generally result in large estimates of uncertainty that the results would be neither reliable nor useful, the requirements under section 203 would cease to be effective.  The amendment would require the EPA regulations halted under the bill go forward if such a finding is made. 


Amendment No. 24—Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI): The amendment would require 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.


Amendment No. 25—Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): The amendment would remove the requirement for drilling permits to be deemed approved under a 60-day deadline.


Amendment No. 26—Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Barney Frank (D-MA): The amendment would require $128 million received from the sale of new leases to be made available to fully fund the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to “limit speculation in energy markets.”


Amendment No. 27—Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX): The amendment would establish an Office of Energy Employment and Training to “oversee the efforts of the Department of the Interior’s energy planning, permitting, and regulatory activities to carry out the purposes, objectives, and requirements of this Act.”  The amendment would also establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion that would be responsible for all matters relating to diversity in management, employment, and business activities.