Western Caucus Members Lead Charge on Oil and Gas Permitting Reform
This week, Western Caucus Members' Steve Pearce (NM-02), Liz Cheney (WY-At Large) and John Curtis(UT-03) introduced four important bills to reform and streamline various aspects of oil and gas permitting regulation and law.
Congressman Pearce said, “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 greatly appreciated Chairman Gosar’s willingness to discuss my ideas, and I look forward to working with the Committee to introduce these bills to ensure that New Mexico receives what it deserves.”
Congresswoman Cheney stated, “The energy industry, the lifeblood of our economy in Wyoming, has been severely burdened by lengthy and often frivolous protests on energy projects. The Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act will help relieve this burden by requiring a small fee in order to file a protest. My bill levels the playing field by charging a nominal fee for protests of oil and gas lease sales, applications for permit to drill, and right of way applications. The Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act brings much needed and long overdue relief to Wyoming oil and gas operators.”
Congressman Curtis said,“This bill will help streamline a burdensome federal process, create new economic development opportunities in rural communities across the district, and keep our country on the path of energy independence.”
EPA Sends New Waters of the United States Definition to the White House
On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) sent a proposed rule that would redefine “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to the White House for interagency review.
“Farmers, ranchers, landowners, and other stakeholders are counting on EPA to listen to their input when it comes to defining ‘waters of the United States,’” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Today, we are taking an important step toward issuing a new WOTUS definition and answering President Trump’s call to ensure that our waters are kept free from pollution, while promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of the federal government and the states under the statutory framework of the Clean Water Act.”
On Thursday, Members of Congress played in the 57th Congressional Baseball Game for charity at Nationals Park. It was an emotional return for Western Caucus Member Steve Scalise (LA-01). Scalise was shot during a team practice last year in Virginia and suffered life threatening injuries. His courageous return to the field gave us all something to cheer cheer about.
On Thursday, several of our Members wished President Trump a happy birthday! The President turned 72 years young and is one of the most high energy and outgoing presidents in our nation's history.
Committee Passes Tribal Recognition Act
Wednesday, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed Chairman Rob Bishop's (UT-01) Tribal Recognition Act.
As the Committee notes, "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."