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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

TASK FORCE BILL OF THE WEEK: Rep. Diane Black’s Federal Land Freedom Act

June 28, 2013
The Federal Land Freedom Act gives States the power to develop all forms of energy on the federal land located within their borders.  It will allow the safe, effective, and robust development of federal resources without bureaucrats in the federal government getting in the way.

The resurgence in oil and natural gas development currently underway in our country is an opportunity for us to achieve true American energy security. Unfortunately, the federal government stands as a serious obstacle to that progress. The federal government owns approximately one third of U.S. land and is notorious for managing a burdensome and lengthy permit process for energy exploration on those lands. While states generally take 30 days on average to approve permits, the federal government takes 228 days. Whereas states currently use their regional expertise to regulate energy exploration in a safe and environmentally conscious manner on private and state lands, the federal government imposes sweeping regulations across all federal lands from Alaska to Florida.

The Federal Land Freedom Act solves these problems by delegating control of energy exploration on federal land to the state containing that land. Under this bill, states would develop a regulatory and permitting process for developing energy resources on federal land within their borders. By declaring the establishment of the state program to the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Energy, all applicable federal laws and regulations will be considered satisfied in deference to the state program. The measure would not apply to federal Indian land, the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, or a congressionally designated wilderness area.

We need to dramatically reengineer our federal energy policy.  The federal government was never meant to own and control the vast amount of land it does today, or the oil underneath it.  The 10th Amendment provides extensive deference to the states to exercise power over things not explicitly given to the federal government in the Constitution, which makes no mention of energy reserves.  It's time for us to reinstate federalism as a solution to our energy and economic problems by giving states the trust our Founders intended them to have.  Doing this will immediately expand domestic energy production, create jobs, and enable us to fully achieve domestic energy independence.

Current Original Co-Sponsors:

Rob Bishop (R-UT)

Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)

Paul Broun (R-GA)

Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

Jeff Duncan (R-SC)

Stephen Fincher (R-TN)

Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)

Matt Salmon (R-AZ)

Steve Southerland (R-FL)

Chris Stewart (R-UT)

Scott Tipton (R-CO)