January 18, 2018
Senators Introduce Bill to Promote Onshore Energy Development
ONSHORE Act eliminates duplicative regulations, streamlines the oil and gas permitting process, increases mineral revenue for states and creates jobs.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), along with Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Opportunities for the Nation and States to Harness Onshore Resources for Energy (ONSHORE) Act.
Permitting delays and duplicative regulations discourage oil and gas development on federal land and deprive states and local communities of much-needed jobs and revenues. The ONSHORE Act empowers states with the authority to manage oil and gas permitting and regulatory responsibilities on federal land within their borders. This will promote energy development by reducing regulatory costs and uncertainty.
“Punishing regulations and permitting delays have plagued the federal oil and gas permitting process for years,” said Barrasso. “Wyoming and other states have shown they are well-equipped to responsibly and effectively manage oil and gas development on federal land. The ONSHORE Act empowers them to do just that. Our bill also eliminates unnecessary regulations and increases mineral revenue for states. This will spur job creation and economic growth across the country by creating an environment where American energy can flourish.”
“Duplicative regulations on federal lands are especially costly for western states, where federal ownership is mixed among state and private lands,” said Hoeven. “The inefficiencies and delays at BLM have needlessly impacted the rights of private mineral owners and reduced revenue to the states and federal government. Our legislation recognizes that states like North Dakota have long had effective regulatory systems in place and should take the lead in managing oil and gas development within their borders. This will help unlock our nation’s energy potential, creating good jobs for our citizens while also ensuring good environmental stewardship.”
“Federal government delays and inefficiencies for oil and gas permitting have stifled energy development on federal lands, hampering economic growth across the country. States like Wyoming, with proven safety and environmental track records, can responsibly issue permits more efficiently and effectively,” said Enzi. “The ONSHORE Act reduces duplicative regulations, stops federal overreach onto private and state lands and empowers states to regulate activities like hydraulic fracturing. This bill will reduce uncertainty, create more jobs and help restore American energy dominance.”
“The federal government has prevented the American people from enjoying the full use of our nation’s bountiful resources for far too long,” said Lee. “The ONSHORE Act will make it easier for states to work with local communities and find the best way to protect the environment and promote economic growth.”
“I am happy to join my colleagues in introducing this much-needed legislation, which would responsibly increase the development of our natural resources, particularly in Utah and across the West,” said Hatch. “For years, I have advocated for states' ability to regulate unconventional oil and gas development, which is safer and more reliable than ever thanks to innovation in the private sector. Today is an important step forward in advancing a commonsense regulatory policy that strengthens our economy while advancing the goals of American energy security.”
Specifically, the ONSHORE Act will:
• Delegate Authority to States: The secretary of the Interior may delegate to the states the exclusive authority to issue and enforce drilling plans and applications for permits to drill on federal land within their borders.
• Reduce Federal Overreach on State and Private Land: Oil and gas operations on non-federal land will be exempt from federal permitting and environmental review if the federal government holds less than a 50 percent mineral ownership interest.
• Grant State and Tribal Authority for Hydraulic Fracturing: States and tribes will have primacy over regulations, guidance and permitting for hydraulic fracturing.
The ONSHORE Act also includes language from Enzi’s State Mineral Revenue Protection Act, cosponsored by Barrasso, which allows states to claim the full 50 percent of mineral royalties they are owed under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
Many states have established regulatory programs that have a proven record of efficiently and effectively managing oil and gas activities. For example, the Bureau of Land Management issued applications for permits to drill in an average of 257 days in 2016, whereas state agencies issued permits in an average of 30 days.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) introduced H.R. 4239, the SECURE American Energy Act, which includes on onshore title similar to the Senate ONSHORE Act. H.R. 4239 passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 8, 2017.