U.S. Rep Cheney Introduces Legislation to Limit Barriers to Energy Production

(June 25, 2018) — U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) recently introduced the Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act in the House of Representatives, a bill aimed at lessening the filing of frivolous protests against energy projects by imposing minimal filing fees on groups challenging the build out of U.S. energy initiatives and American output.

“The energy industry, the lifeblood of our economy in Wyoming, has been severely burdened by lengthy and often frivolous protests on energy projects,” Cheney said. “Today I introduced the Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act, which will help relieve this burden by requiring a small fee in order to file a protest.

Currently, no fee is required and some groups have taken advantage of the ability to file protests for free by flooding the permitting agencies with frivolous protests that have severely delayed the federal permitting process and hurt our economy in Wyoming.”

Cheney added that last year in Wyoming more than 80% of oil and gas lease sales were protested, but the U.S. Department of the Interior only removed four land leases, and that was due to procedural reasons, not environmental factors. “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.”

“Stubborn obstructionism, when there’s no good reason for it, shouldn’t pay off,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. “Our country is on the verge of a major energy expansion. Tapping into our nation’s vast resources will benefit all Americans and brings us closer to true energy independence. I appreciate Rep. Cheney’s continued partnership on this issue and look forward to moving this needed legislation forward.” The lawmakers noted that, under current law, individuals and organizations may submit protests on oil and gas lease sales, applications for permit to drill, and right of way applications for oil and gas operations on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must process and resolve each lease before issuing the respective permit, lease, or right of way. The Interior Department is not authorized to collect any
fees for protests.

Further, the number of protests has risen sharply in past years. In 2017, 88% of parcels were protested. BLM must issue leases within 60 days of the date of sale and protests can be thousands of pages, delaying the issuance of permits, leases, or rights of way. Cheney’s bill authorizes Interior to assess an administrative fee to recover the cost of processing protests filed on oil and gas lease sales, drilling permits, and right of way applications. The legislation requires protestors to submit a $150 filing fee for each protest submission under 10 pages in length and an additional $5 for each page more than 10 pages. An additional $10 would be assessed for every additional lease parcel, right of way, or drilling permit application included in a single protest submission.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, June 25, 2018. The Weekly Propane Newsletter brings its readers the latest posted and spot prices from all major terminals and refineries around the U.S. It also includes market analysis and commentary along with a center spread of posted prices with hundreds of postings that are completely updated twice per week. At the same time, the Newsletter provides up-to-date news items of interest to propane industry insiders. The Weekly Propane Newsletter also serves as third-party pricing verification for index-pricing clients. Click on Subscriptions tab for more information.)