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House Votes to Aid Drilling in Weeklong GOP Offensive on Obama’s Energy Policy

President vows to veto bill which would automatically approve permit applications that Interior shoves to back burner.

by
Bill Straub

Bio

November 20, 2013 - 5:07 pm
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Federal leases permitted under the Obama administration have been historically low, Hastings said. The average time to get a drilling permit approved on federal land is 307 days. By contrast, drillers can obtain a permit on public lands held by North Dakota in 10 days on average.

“It is no wonder that state lands are flourishing while federal lands are experiencing a decrease in energy production,” Hastings said. “That is unacceptable, and this bill today offers real solutions to unlock the shackles that have been placed on our federal lands.”

Holt answered that analysis is “flat-out wrong.” Production on federal and Indian lands in the West has actually “skyrocketed.”

“Onshore oil production from federal and Indian lands, just what we are talking about in this legislation, has gone up every year since the president has been in office,” Holt said. “It is now 35 percent higher than it was under President Bush. Yet this legislation would not just reduce environmental protections, it would gut them, it would remove them.”

Lamborn maintained that his bill “takes significant steps toward moving our country forward on a path to energy independence by streamlining government regulations and reducing government red tape that hinders onshore energy production.” Despite claims to the contrary, he said, “President Obama has waged a war on energy development.”

“Under the administration, a simple permit, which in my home state of Colorado on average takes 27 days to approve, takes nearly a year on federal land. And only minuscule areas of land have been leased for energy development despite significant interest in many more acres. In fact, the Obama administration has had the 4 lowest years of federal acres leased for energy production going back to 1988. The Obama administration has even taken the shocking and questionable step of canceling leases that have been legally bought and paid for.”

McEnaney noted that the bill also pressures the Interior Department to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration if Alaska supplies matching funds to carry out an exploration program. That move, he said, “undermines responsible management of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. It would toss out an existing National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Integrated Activity Plan, which was approved after 400,000 Americans, including Alaskans, sportsmen and scientists weighed in, and instead orders the use of an alternative allowing new drilling in the Reserve’s five designated ‘Special Areas,’ which are valued for wildlife habitat and native subsistence.”

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) said the provision was requested by a number of Indian tribes and Alaska native corporations to streamline federal regulations and legal procedures that hinder exploration, development, and production of energy on their lands.

“There are 56 million acres of lands held in trust by the federal government for the benefit of Indians, 56 million,” Young said. “In Alaska, there are 44 million acres, a total land mass larger than the state of California. Many of these areas are in untapped energy resources. It is estimated that up to 10 percent or more of our nation’s energy is contained in Native lands.”

But outdated federal policies, Young said, “thwart the ability of tribes to use their lands for their benefit. Leases of Indian trust lands require federal review and approval, which arguably brings little or no value to the tribes involved.”

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Washington freelancer Bill Straub is former White House correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service.

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All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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I can't find anything to like about a proposal that wants to overrule a plan put together by 400,000 stakeholders by legislative fiat. that seems to fly in the face of observing the will of the stakeholders. That probably bothers me more than anything else about this. I think the people most involved should have their plan respected. There is a lot of oil and gas still available and it isn't going anywhere. If you're going to talk so damn much about freedom and liberty then shutup and stay out of other peoples business. You folks can not only keep you noses out of peoples bed room, you can't keep your nose out of their business.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess the GOP of today won't be satisfied unless and until we all live on a greasy tarpit of a nation. You mean producing more than we import for the first time in a long time isn't enough? Thank goodness for what the Republican party used to be in the days of Teddy Roosevelt. Y'all commenters here are MANIACS!!
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah - another of those brilliant bills by Boehner and the RINO brain-trust to show real conservatives that "we're doing something about" (fill in the blank). When the rubber hit the road and they had a chance to kill O'Care what did they do? They lined up like the good little statists that they are and started yelling at Cruz.

More show - no go.


48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Government should own as little land as is compatible with performing its basic and essential functions. Fundamentally, that means military bases and training ranges, courthouses and police stations. Everything else - EVERYTHING - should be returned to private ownership, perhaps via auction. Of course my minarchist dream has no chance of being enacted, but it is nonetheless abundantly clear that the amount of land in Federal and State hands is too high by at least two orders of magnitude.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, let's just call a spade a spade and a liar a liar, that is to say, Rep. Holt. According to a report released by the Congressional Research Service, everything he said is false.

Key Findings of the Report:

“All of the increased production from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands…”
For natural gas production in the U.S. since 2007 “…production on federal lands (onshore and offshore) fell by about 33% and production on non-federal lands grew by 40%.”
Because of declines in oil production on federal lands in FY2011 and FY2012, production is now below FY2007 production levels.
The average daily production of natural gas on federal lands decreased by 8% from FY2011 to FY2012 and by 23% from FY2008 to FY2012.
The average time to process an Application for Permits to Drill (APD) on federal land increased 41% from 2006 to 2011, from 218 days in 2006 to 307 in 2011.
“A more efficient permitting process may be an added incentive for the industry to invest in developing federal resources, which may allow for some oil and gas to come onstream sooner, but in general, the regulatory framework for developing resources on federal lands will likely remain more involved and time-consuming than that on private land.”

- See more at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/brand/new-report-chronicles-oil-and-gas-production-federal-lands-declining-under-obamas-watch#sthash.FGKoKUYK.dpuf
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now if we could get enough people in the Senate that were interested in the prosperity of the country instead of their own self serving wants and needs, we just might save this country. Our greatest problem is the fact that we elect people to run our country that hate the country they are suppose to run.
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48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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