House Energy Bill Passes House with Bishop Amendment on Lease Sales
WASHINGTON— Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act [H.R. 4899]. The bill, which Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) co-sponsored, addresses some of the significant roadblocks preventing growth within onshore and offshore energy sectors, which, in turn, will lead to new jobs and lower gas prices. Included in the final legislation was an amendment introduced by House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) that would prevent the Administration from withdrawing federal lease parcels from a scheduled sale after the public comment period has closed and after the sale has been announced.
Most recently, in November 2014, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deferred 57 parcels from a planned lease sale only five days before the sale was to occur. The BLM justified the decision to cancel the lease sale based on a letter submitted long after the public comment period had ended.
"Our federal lands and offshore resources hold a great deal of potential for both job creation and domestic energy production. Unfortunately, the current Administration has endeavored to curb production of our federal energy resources and, unfortunately, they have succeeded. More than 100 leases set to go on the block in Utah have been cancelled during this Administration's time in office. Those leases would have brought jobs and revenue to my home state and I know that Utah isn't alone in this. The Administration can and should do better by the American people and this bill is a great place to start," said Congressman Bishop.
Specifically, H.R. 4899:
- Requires the Administration to move forward with new offshore energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources – including the Atlantic Coast and Pacific Coast.
- Requires the Administration to conduct oil and natural gas leases sales that it has delayed or cancelled, including the Virginia Lease sale originally scheduled for 2011.
- Increases offshore energy production by establishing fair and equitable revenue sharing of offshore revenues for all coastal states, including U.S. territories.
- Reforms and further enhances the accountability, efficiency, safety and ethical standards of offshore energy operations.
- Reforms the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal lands to eliminate unnecessary delays.
- Reforms the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of our federal resources.
- Sets clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources.
- Establishes common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan using our vast federal resources.
- Ensures that oil and natural gas resources in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) are developed and transported in a timely, efficient manner.
- Modernizes and updates the bidding process for oil and natural gas leases by allowing Internet-based auctions.