Hoeven, McCarthy, Republican Leaders Launch the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act of 2012
Measure Will Jumpstart America’s Energy Industry, Boost Economy, Create Jobs
How appropriate that the New Republican jobs plan has the acronym DEJA (vu?). It’s the recycled mantra of deregulation and DRILL BABY DRILL. I have the funny feeling that I’ve heard this before:
DOMESTIC ENERGY AND JOBS ACT OF 2012
Senator John Hoeven, Congressman Kevin McCarthy
July 26, 2012
Establish an American Energy Development Plan: Requires the Interior Secretary 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, including oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.
Approve of the Keystone XL Pipeline: Deems the environmental review process complete and allows TransCanada to construct the northern leg of the pipeline immediately except in Nebraska, while the state continues its routing process within the state. Keystone XL will bring 830,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, including 100,000 barrel a day from U.S. producers.
Freeze and Study the Impact of EPA Rules on Gasoline Regulations: Requires an interagency task force to conduct a cumulative analysis on certain EPA rules and actions that impact the price of gasoline and diesel fuels, providing for a better understanding of the costs and consequences of these rules.
Provide Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Certainty: Requires a minimum annual acreage leasing plan that makes available at least 25 percent of the lands open for leasing each year and set firm timelines for the Interior secretary to issue leases and adjudicate lease protests. It would prohibit the Secretary from withdrawing leases and adding additional lease stipulations after they have been sold.
Advance Offshore Wind Production: Allows weather site testing for wind, tidal, current and solar mapping to discover and catalog potential energy on or in the waters of the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill limits the size of testing to one acre on the seafloor or five acres on the surface, and sets a 30 day deadline for issuance of a permit to test.
Streamline Energy Permitting: Establishes a cost-recovery mechanism for permitting and protests and ensure that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) permitting offices have the personnel and resources necessary to approve energy development on federal lands. It includes hard timelines on permit approvals, cuts back on red tape, and reduces litigation. Applies to oil, natural gas, wind, coal, solar and other energy project permitting on federal lands.
Provide Access to the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA): Provides for leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, an area of land on the Alaska North Slope managed by the BLM. The bill would reaffirm Congress’ intent that the land’s main purpose is for oil and natural gas resources and requires at least one lease sale in areas most likely to produce oil. It also directs the Interior and Transportation secretaries to work toward the development of pipelines and roads in the reserve, in an environmentally responsible manner.
Hold BLM Live Internet Auctions: Gives the Interior Secretary 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.
Establish a Mining Law Program or Solid Minerals Leasing Program: Freezes the Interior Department’s attempt to shift the regulation of coal mines from the Office of Surface Mining to the BLM or Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
Increase State Revenue Sharing for Outer Continental Shelf Revenues: Changes the total amount a state can receive from Outer Continental Shelf revenues from $500,000 per year to $750,000 for the years 2023 to 2055.
Offer Lease Sales off Virginia Coast: Directs the Interior Secretary to offer minerals off the shores of Virginia in a lease sale. The area covered by the sale is about 2.9 million acres at least 50 miles offshore of Virginia in the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area. The Bureau estimates that this area may contain 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The bill protects any military activities by prohibiting any activity that would conflict with any military operation.
Limit New Regulations on Surface Mining: Prohibits the Interior Secretary from approving any regulation that would adversely impact employment in coal mines in the United States; cause a reduction in revenue received by the Federal Government or any State, tribal, or local government; reduce the amount of coal available for domestic consumption or for export; designate any area as unsuitable for surface coal mining and reclamation operations; or expose the United States to liability for taking the value of privately owned coal through regulation.
Establish a Critical Minerals Policy Act: Directs the U.S. Geological Survey to establish a list of minerals critical to the U.S. economy and sets forth a comprehensive set of policies that will bolster critical mineral production, expand manufacturing and promote recycling and alternatives – all while maintaining strong environmental protections.
Just to choose ONE item from the above list of disturbing proposals: “Limit New Regulations on Surface Mining.” Read the wording of this one carefully. It seems that it would restrict ANY regulation of surface mining because it may cause a loss of work or revenue. Here in Appalachia where I live, mountaintop removal mining is a regular practice. If it was determined that a community or wildlife might be adversely affected by blowing the top off a mountain, would this legislation prohibit an injunction on the removal? Instances of Black Lung from inhaling coal dust, once thought largely eradicated, is once again on the rise. Would advocation of safer working conditions for coal miners “adversely affect employment” or “cause a reduction in revenue?” I hope someone with better knowledge can help me understand this. It sounds to me as if “anything goes” if this act is approved.
**Edited to add: Oh, yeah, and Republicans are seeking to block funding for regulations meant to reduce instances of Black Lung in miners. Sigh.