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House Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on Federal Lands Energy Bills

U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources CommitteeOn Tuesday afternoon, the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on several bills that could have a major impact on the OFS sector should they move forward and pass. 

The hearing included testimony on:

  • H.R. 1492 the Methane Waste Prevention Act
  • H.R. 1503 the Restoring Community Input and Public Protection in Oil and Gas Leasing Act
  • H.R. 1505 Bonding Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act
  • H.R. 1506 Transparency in Energy Production Act
  •  H.R. 1517 Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act

BILLS SUMMARY

H.R. 1503 and 1517 would raise royalty rates to drill offshore and on public lands. The bills would give the Department of Interior increased authority to raise rates with limited public input. 

H.R. 1492 would direct Interior to take additional actions to regulate methane releases from drilling on federal lands. H.R. 1505 would increase the minimum oil and gas bonding amounts for oil and gas operators. 

The next step for these bills is a full markup in the Natural Resources Committee. After that, they could head to the House floor as individual bills or as part of a larger legislative package. While margins in the House remain tight, the package likely would pass should it make it to the House floor.  

BILLS OPPOSITION

The GOP opposition to the bills was strong. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN-8), who leads the panel for Republicans, took exception to H.R. 1503 and H.R. 1517, which he felt would allow Interior to raise fees on oil and gas producers with little or no input from the public, ultimately devastating small producers with increased fees.

Stauber fears small producers will choose not to do business on federal lands at all if the bills become law, which he argued would mean the U.S. would be left with undeveloped resources and increase dependence on foreign sources of energy. 

Mark Murphy, President of Strata Production Company, a small independent oil and gas producer in New Mexico, testified the proposed legislation would have a significant effect on small producers like his company, as well as on the energy supply chain. 

Murphy echoed a point the Council has made in its advocacy efforts that the economic impact of limiting energy production on federal lands would cause serious economic damage in states like New Mexico, and have impacts that affect the entire supply chain throughout the country.   

The Council will follow these bills closely as they make their way through the legislative process in the House and continue to advocate for the men and women of the OFS sector and their right to access federal lands for energy production.  

For more information about the Council’s advocacy efforts, contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley.

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