by Brian Sheid, Platts.com
May 15, 2013 (TSR) – US House Republicans on Wednesday unveiled two new bills aimed at opening more federal lands to oil and natural gas drilling and reforming federal lease sales.
The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, (H.R. 1965), which was introduced by Representative Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Republican, is aimed at reforming the federal lease process for oil and gas projects on federal lands.
The bill, which would require faster permitting and set new rules for shale development, is needed since the Obama administration “has repeatedly blocked and delayed the development of energy on federal lands,” Lamborn said.
Representative Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, also introduced the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act (H.R. 1964), which would require annual oil and gas lease sales in the NPR-A on lands currently blocked by the Department of Interior.
These, and two other related, Republican-backed bills, will be the focus of a Natural Resources Committee hearing next week.
The committee will discuss the BLM Live Internet Auctions Act (H.R. 555) which Representative Bill Johnson, an Ohio Republican, introduced in February. The bill would allow Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to conduct lease sales of onshore lands over the internet.
“This common sense legislation updates an outdated and inefficient lease sale process that requires bidders to appear in person to purchase land leases,” Johnson said when he introduced the bill. Johnson had introduced a similar bill in 2011, but it was never voted out of committee.
The committee will also take up the Planning for American Energy Act (H.R. 1394) which Representative Scott Tipton, a Colorado Republican, introduced in March. The bill would require the Interior Secretary to develop a plan for energy development on federal lands every four years. Numerous energy sources, including gas, coal, oil and renewables, would need to be included in that plan.