Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) released the following statement regarding two bills he has sponsored, H.R. 6106, Common Sense Permitting and H.R. 6107, Ending Duplicative Permitting Act, which were introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives:
“The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) inability to timely permit energy activities is costing New Mexico thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. These two bills will ensure New Mexico can continue to play a leading role in America’s energy revolution. When it takes BLM 250 days to process a permit, the State loses out on needed revenues that support over 30% of the State’s budget, funding schools, police departments, road redevelopment, and community hospitals. I have enjoyed working with the House Natural Resources Committee to introduce these bills to ensure that New Mexico receives what it deserves,” Pearce said.
“The federal government has a knack for slowing down progress. Our country’s energy expansion can only happen as fast as our burdensome permitting processes allows. That’s why we need these bills. They cut the red tape that is holding us back from energy independence and greater American prosperity. I’m thankful for Rep. Pearce’s hard work on this important issue and look forward to this legislation moving through Committee,” House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said.
Currently, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Carlsbad Field Office has a backlog of 800 permit applications. Slow permitting has been found to cost New Mexico $713 million annually in revenues and $1.3 billion annually in lost revenues to the federal government. Texas and New Mexico typically issue permits within 14 days of being requested, BLM has an average issuance of 250 days. Texas is currently operating 388 rigs in the Permian Basin to New Mexico’s 89, despite New Mexico having the more valuable resources.
Today, the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on a discussion draft titled the Enhancing State Management of Federal Lands and Waters Act, which would increase the role of states in federal mineral management while respecting the American taxpayer. During the hearing, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) acknowledged the importance of including state input when dealing with federal resource policy decisions, not just when Democrat states express concerns.
Democrats Rush to Defend Federalism…But Only For Coastal States.
Bishop rightfully raised the question to Committee Democrats after they touted the importance of federalism, but only, apparently, in certain circumstances. The Committee Democrats had no response when asked why the minority only takes seriously the input from some governors.### Read More
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed a slate of reforms to federal Indian policy including H.R. 3744 (Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah), H.R. 2606 (Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.), and H.R. 5874 (Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D.).
“Federal Indian policy today is characterized by inconsistency, conflicting interpretations of the law, paternalism, and plain bad public policy. As a result, policy outcomes are dictated by bureaucrats and judges rather than the legitimate social and economic needs of Indian tribes. This is a profitable arrangement for unscrupulous tribal lawyers and Washington lobbyists, but it’s bad for the Indian tribes and for the public. Tragically, health disparities, infant mortality, alcoholism, drug abuse, and unemployment plague Indian reservations across the country. Today, the Committee advanced three bills to make long overdue reforms to federal tribal policy and benefit Indian tribes,” Bishop said.
H.R. 3744, the Tribal Recognition Act of 2017: The current process for Federal acknowledgement of Indian tribes was created within the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs without congressional authorization. As documented in previous Committee hearings, the BIA process is fraught with delays, lacks public transparency and is susceptible to political manipulation by unelected officials, as proven in prior Inspector General reports. Under H.R. 3744, the BIA retains its role of studying documented petitions to establish if they meet minimum criteria, but Congress will make the final decision – a decision informed by BIA’s comprehensive analysis, one that can no longer be subject to the whims of unelected officials.
Members adopted an amendment to H.R. 3744 offered by Ranking Member Grijalva to reaffirm the legal status of lands taken into trust before 2009 by the Department of the Interior for the benefit of Indian tribes, a high priority for a number of Indian tribes who have trust lands in jeopardy because of the 2009 Carcieri v. Salazar Supreme Court decision.
The 2009 decision held that the Secretary may not acquire land for Indians pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) unless they are members of a tribe that was “under federal jurisdiction” at the time the law was passed.
H.R. 5874, the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act of 2018, amends the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to improve the recruitment and retention of employees in the Indian Health Service, restore accountability in the Indian Health Service, and improve health services.
H.R. 2606, the Stigler Act Amendments of 2017, amends the Act of August 4, 1947 (commonly known as the Stigler Act), with respect to restrictions applicable to Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma.
By Adam Shaw
House Republicans warned Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday that lawsuits filed against the Pentagon by environmental advocacy groups in the U.S. may be unwittingly helping America’s adversaries, particularly China.
A letter sent by members of the House Committee on Natural Resources warned that “while some lawsuits represent sincere and justified concerns about the effect of federal actions on the environment, others may be maliciously filed to stop, restrict, delay, or impose additional costs on U.S. military activities.”
Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., pointed specifically to U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, noting the military has faced lawsuits dating back decades alleging environmental violations.
They wrote that the Navy has been restricted in testing and training due to litigation, citing lawsuits led by the Natural Resources Defense Council focusing on how marine life are impacted by the Navy’s use of active sonar and underwater explosives.
“Active sonar is the most effective means of detecting the ultra-quiet diesel electric submarines deployed by foreign navies, such as China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy,” the letter noted.
The letter also cited lawsuits by Earthjustice that have hindered live-fire exercises in Hawaii and a fight by environmental groups to prevent the relocation of a Marine Corps Air Station in Okinawa, Japan to a less densely populated area.
The lawmakers claimed that for America’s adversaries, “such lawsuits may serve as an inexpensive tool or a military windfall which reduce U.S. defense capabilities.”
“Accordingly, environmental groups that bring such lawsuits may be knowingly or vulnerable to unwittingly serving as proxies for our foreign adversaries,” the letter states, before warning that such groups “could perform as self-funded, self-sufficient, and perpetual ‘launch and forget’ weapons.”
The committee requested the Pentagon provide related information and documents, including those that identify foreign entities working to use U.S.-based groups as “proxies” in litigation against the Pentagon.
The letter comes after the committee raised red flags about the NRDC’s advocacy work, suggesting it is at risk of being coerced by China -- suggesting it may even need to register as a foreign agent. The group responded in a statement by defending its “American values.”
“NRDC seeks environmental solutions that are grounded in sound science, U.S. law and the public interest,” Bob Deans, director of strategic engagement for the NRDC, said. “We work on behalf of every American to protect our people against dangerous pollution and leave our children a livable world. Those are American values, American goals, and advancing them is manifestly in our national interest, as we have consistently demonstrated for nearly 50 years.”### Read More
Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary James Mattis requesting information about foreign entities using U.S.-based 501(c) organizations as proxies in environmental litigation against the United States or to influence domestic environmental and natural resources laws.
“Given the emerging concerns about undue foreign influence in the United States, the Committee is investigating how foreign adversaries may use U.S.-based 501(c) organizations as knowing or unknowing proxies to engage in environmental lawfare…
“Specifically, we are interested in environmental litigation by U.S.-based 501(c) organizations against the Department of Defense (Department) and its negative impact on our national security...
“Accordingly, environmental groups that bring such lawsuits may be knowingly or vulnerable to unwittingly serving as proxies for our foreign adversaries…
“While some lawsuits represent sincere and justified concerns about the effect of federal actions on the environment, others may be maliciously filed to stop, restrict, delay, or impose additional costs on U.S. military activities.”
Click here to read the full letter.
The letter is part of an ongoing investigation led by the Committee to further examine foreign influence on U.S. natural resources and environmental policy.### Read More
House Natural Resource Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) today issued the following statement on the passage of the 2019 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 5895) by the U.S. House of Representatives.
“This Energy and Water Appropriations measure improves how we manage our river systems, and allows for science to guide the process instead of politics. It also promotes an all-of-the-above energy infrastructure strategy by bolstering hydropower markets, and promoting a stable, affordable source of energy for millions of Americans. I look forward to working to secure passage of the provisions in the final bill we send to the president’s desk for signature.”
H.R. 5895 includes language from two bills that passed out of the Committee this Congress: H.R. 3144 (Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.) and H.R. 1967 (Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.).
H.R. 3144, the bipartisan Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act, authorizes expanded pumped storage hydropower at select Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) facilities.
H.R. 1967, Bureau of Reclamation Pumped Storage Hydropower Development Act, provides certainty over the reliable management of the Federal Columbia River Power System and prevents the wasting of $40 million in lost power generation.
Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the House Committee on Natural Resources held a legislative hearing on four onshore energy development discussion drafts which will expedite the burdensome regulatory process and help American families across the nation pay less at the pump. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R-N.M) testified in support of the proposals that would increase efficiencies in the oil and gas industry and increase revenues for the state and federal government.
“First, I would like to thank Governor Martinez for joining us today. Having the Governor’s input is valuable for this discussion and will help pave a legislative path forward. For far too long, onshore energy production has been stymied on federal lands as a result of burdensome, duplicative requirements. These proposals represent commonsense solutions to streamlining the oil and gas permitting and leasing process,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said.
“In addition to impacting important services, delays in the approval of permits also affect job growth and rural economic development. Oil and gas activity contributes more than $11.3 billion to New Mexico’s economy and is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs. Each backlogged permit represents New Mexicans losing out on good-paying jobs and rural communities losing out on economic growth,” Gov. Martinez said.
Witnesses also included New Mexico Energy Secretary Ken McQueen, the Department of the Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary Katharine MacGregor, and the State of Utah Director of Oil, Gas and Mining John Baza.
Stakeholder support for the legislative proposals includes:
“IPAA is encouraged to see the House Natural Resources Committee address the burdensome regulatory concerns that add undue costs to operating on public lands. Specifically, IPAA is pleased to see the Committee consider forward-thinking solutions that clarify and promote the use of categorical exclusions, address issues with the federal nexus, and create a more tailored permitting program. These discussion drafts are a positive step towards cutting unnecessary red tape and providing increased certainty for our member companies who seek to responsibly operate on public lands. IPAA commends Chairman Bishop and the authors of each draft bill on their efforts to codify these important issues, rather than allow industry to be whip-sawed by the political whims of each new administration.” – Barry Russell, president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)
“Western Energy Alliance strongly supports the four draft onshore energy bills, and applauds the Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources for holding today’s hearing. For too long, bureaucratic overreach and inefficiency have hampered environmentally responsible oil and natural gas development on federal lands. These are good government bills that recognize that most wells’ impacts are known and managed effectively to meet rigorous environmental standards. Wells that meet the standards should not be subject to duplicative red tape and interminable government delay.” – Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance
Click here for more information on the discussion drafts sponsored by Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.).
Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans staff held a roundtable with representatives from ocean-dependent communities to discuss opportunities for regulatory reform that will provide certainty for working waterfronts and promote vibrant and sustainable coastal economies. Chairman Bishop issued the following statement:
“I applaud President Trump for declaring June National Ocean Month, and for underscoring the importance of lessening the regulatory burdens impacting our ocean industries and communities.”
President Donald Trump declared June 2018 National Ocean Month, emphasizing the importance of regulatory streamlining and supporting ocean industries. The roundtable provided a forum for people who make a living on the water to share their perspectives with the Committee.
Concerns and comments from representatives focused on issues surrounding the Antiquities Act, President Obama’s National Ocean Policy, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and more.
The Committee is working to advance several pieces of legislation to benefit coastal communities including, H.R. 5787, the Strengthening Coastal Communities Act of 2018 (Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla.).
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources advanced several federal lands bills including H.R. 5751 (Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah), H.R. 3777 (Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah), H.R. 4824 (Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah), and H.R. 5597 (Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah). In what may be a Committee first, a bill from each member of the Utah congressional delegation was passed.
“It’s been said that Utah punches above its weight in Congress. Today’s markup shows that the Beehive State is uniquely qualified and prepared to lead on these important policy matters. In Utah, we know about public lands; we know about history; and we know about the importance of local input and rural priorities. With legislation from each House member in the state, Utah asserts itself as a leader in the public land debates that have such significant impacts on our communities and the nation,” Chairman Bishop said.
H.R. 4824, the Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act of 2018, streamlines federal broadband permitting to encourage expansion of broadband service to rural communities.
“Access to reliable and fast broadband is critical to the success of every American family, student and small business. My bill will empower States and Tribal governments to more efficiently bring this resource to rural communities and help spur economic development in these areas. I am delighted to see my legislation pass out of the House Natural Resources Committee,” Rep. Curtis stated.
H.R. 3777, the Juab County Conveyance Act of 2017, directs the Secretary of Agriculture to convey certain National Forest System land containing the Nephi Work Center in Juab County, Utah, to Juab County.
“The advancement of the Juab County Conveyance Act is a huge win for Utah’s 4th District, and I applaud the Committee for its work in moving it forward. This bill would provide a cost-effective solution means for Juab County to enhance fire protection throughout the County and region, including on public lands. As a former mayor, I understand just how important this is to Utah’s residents and am excited to advance this common-sense solution for them,” Rep. Love stated.
H.R. 5597, the Desert Tortoise Habitat Conservation Plan Expansion Act, Washington County, Utah, provides for the expansion of the Desert Tortoise Habitat Conservation Plan, Washington County, Utah.
“Thank you to Chairman Bishop and the Natural Resources Committee for passing this bill to help Washington County. This legislation provides a long awaited, and much needed, norther corridor transportation route while adding further protection for the desert tortoise. We are now one step closer to providing for the needs of one of the fastest growing areas in the nation,” Rep. Stewart said.
H.R. 5751, the Golden Spike 150th Anniversary Act, redesignates the Golden Spike National Historic Site as Golden Spike National Historical Park and establishes the Transcontinental Railroad Network.
The Committee also passed H.R. 5875 (Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam) and H.R. 4528 (Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla.).### Read More
Today, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) sent a letter to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) President Rhea Suh seeking information on the nature of the organization’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China and clarification on its status as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
“The Committee is concerned about the NRDC’s role in aiding China’s perception management efforts with respect to pollution control and its international standing on environmental issues in ways that may be detrimental to the United States…
“The NRDC’s relationship with China has many of the criteria identified by U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement as putting an entity at risk of being influenced or coerced by foreign interests…
“The NRDC’s ability to work in China is dependent on the goodwill of the Chinese Government. The NRDC leadership regularly meets with senior Chinese and Communist Party officials.”
Click here to read the full letter.