Senators introduce onshore drilling bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), along with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Hoeven (R-ND) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) reintroduced 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.
“For years, excessive regulations and permitting delays have bogged down the federal oil and gas permitting process,” Barrasso said. “States like Wyoming have shown they are ready and able to effectively manage responsible oil and gas development on federal land. Our legislation gives states the power to do just that while also eliminating punishing and unnecessary regulations. Putting states in the driver’s seat will cut down permitting delays, create jobs, promote economic growth and increase America’s energy dominance.”
“By empowering states to take the lead in oil and gas development, we can help create more jobs, more local revenue for communities and keep energy prices low,” Enzi said. “It is time to move away from some of the unnecessary, duplicative and burdensome regulations imposed by the federal government that keep us from utilizing our natural resources to their fullest. States like Wyoming, with proven safety and environmental track records, can responsibly issue permits more efficiently and effectively to help realize that potential.”
“States like North Dakota have long had efficient and effective permitting systems in place for energy development,” Hoeven said. “Our legislation, which includes my BLM Mineral Spacing Act, helps remove duplicative layers of regulation. This is all about recognizing the role of states in managing the energy activity within their borders, producing more revenue for federal, state and local governments and protecting the rights of private mineral owners. At the same time, our bill will help foster economic growth, create good jobs and promote our nation’s energy security
“As a former energy and environmental state regulator, I’ve always opposed the federal government imposing its mediocrity on North Dakota,” Cramer said. “Duplicative and overreaching federal regulations are wasteful, bad for the economy, and harmful to the environment.”
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.
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. F