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Kurt Faulhammer

Federal Land Freedom Act

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N THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. Faulhammer (for herself, Mrs. Black, Mr. Fleischmann, Mr. Kustoff of Tennessee, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Duncan of South Carolina, Mr. Roe of Tennessee, Mrs. Blackburn, and Mr.Duncan of Tennessee) introduced the following bill;


A BILL

To achieve domestic energy independence by empowering States to control the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas on all available Federal land, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Federal Land Freedom Act”.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds that—

(1) as of the date of the enactment of this Act—

(A) 113,000,000 acres of onshore Federal land are open and accessible for oil and gas development; and

(B) approximately 166,000,000 acres of onshore Federal land are off-limits or inaccessible for oil and gas development;

(2) despite the recent oil and gas boom in the United States, the number of acres of Federal land leased for oil and gas exploration has decreased by 31 percent since 2008;

(3) in 2015, the Federal Government leased only 36,000,000 acres of Federal land, in contrast to the 131,000,000 acres that were leased in 1984;

(4) the reduction in leasing of Federal land harms economic growth and Federal revenues;

(5) in 2015, it took, on average, 220 days to process applications for permits to drill on Federal land; and

(6) States have extensive and sufficient regulatory frameworks for permitting oil and gas development.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) AVAILABLE FEDERAL LAND.—The term “available Federal land” means any Federal land that, as of May 31, 2017—

(A) is located within the boundaries of a State;

(B) is not held by the United States in trust for the benefit of a federally recognized Indian tribe;

(C) is not a unit of the National Park System;

(D) is not a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System;

(E) is not Congressionally approved wilderness area under the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.); and

(F) has been identified as land available for lease for the exploration, development, and production of oil or gas—

(i) by the Bureau of Land Management under a Resource Management Plan pursuant to the process provided for in the Federal Land Management and Policy Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.); or

(ii) by the Forest Service under a Forest Management Plan pursuant to the process provided for in the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.).

(2) STATE.—The term “State” means—

(A) one of the several States; and

(B) the District of Columbia.

(3) STATE REGULATORY PROGRAM.—The term “State regulatory program” means a program established pursuant to State law that regulates oil and gas exploration, development, and production on land located in the State.

SEC. 4. STATE CONTROL OF OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND PRODUCTION ON ALL AVAILABLE FEDERAL LAND.

(a) Submission Of State Regulatory Program.—Each State in which there may be the leasing, permitting, or regulating of oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities on available Federal lands, and which wishes to assume exclusive jurisdiction over the leasing, permitting, and regulation of such oil and gas activities, shall submit to the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture a State regulatory program which demonstrates that such State has the capability of carrying out the provisions of this Act and meeting its purposes through—

(1) a State law which provides for the leasing, regulation and permitting of oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities;

(2) a State law which provides sanctions for violations of State laws, regulations, or conditions of permits concerning oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities;

(3) a State regulatory authority with sufficient administrative and technical personnel, and sufficient funding to enable the State to lease, regulate and permit oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities; and

(4) a State law which provides for the effective implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of a permit system for oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities on available Federal lands within the State.

(b) Approval Of State Regulatory Program.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The State regulatory program submitted under subsection (a) shall be deemed approved, unless, not later than 60 days after submission, the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture—

(A) find approval of a State regulatory program would result in decreased royalty payments to the Federal Government; or

(B) determine that the State Regulatory Program submitted under subsection (a) does not have the capability to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(2) ADVERSE DETERMINATION.—For any adverse determination by the Secretaries, the Secretaries shall—

(A) notify, in writing, the State applicant of the reason for the withholding of approval; and

(B) provide any additional information, data, or analysis upon which such determination is based.

(c) Effect Of Approval Of State Regulatory Program.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, on approval of a State regulatory program under subsection (b), the State shall assume the Federal leasing, permitting and regulatory responsibilities for oil and gas exploration, development, and production on available Federal land located in the State in accordance with the approved plan.

(d) Effect Of State Action.—Any action by a State to lease, permit, or regulate oil and gas exploration, development, and production in accordance with an approved State regulatory program shall not be subject to, or considered a Federal action, Federal permit, or Federal license under—

(1) subchapter II of chapter 5, and chapter 7, of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the ‘‘Administrative Procedure Act’’);

(2) chapter 3001 of title 54, United States Code;

(3) the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); or

(4) the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

(e) Reassumption Of Regulatory Authority By The Secretary.—

(1) VOLUNTARY SURRENDER OF AUTHORITY.—If a State regulatory program has been approved under subsection (b), such state may voluntarily revoke such approval, and relinquish the duties under subsection (c) upon providing a 60-day notice to the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture. Upon the expiration of the 60-day period, the state shall no longer be permitted to lease, regulate, or permit oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities on available Federal lands.

(2) INVOLUNTARY SURRENDER OF AUTHORITY.—If the Secretaries of the Interior or Agriculture determine a State regulatory program has resulted in a 20-percent decrease in royalties to the Federal government from the preceding year, the Secretaries shall notify the state of such decrease. Such notified state shall have 180 days to address the royalty deficiency. If a state fails to improve the amount of royalties paid to the federal government, then the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture may jointly determine to revoke the approval of the state regulatory program under subsection (b).

SEC. 5. NO EFFECT ON FEDERAL REVENUES.

(a) In General.—Any lease or permit issued by a State under section 4 shall include provisions for the collection of royalties or other revenues in an amount equal to the amount of royalties or revenues that would have been collected if the lease or permit had been issued by the Federal Government.

(b) Disposition Of Revenues.—Any revenues collected under a lease or permit issued by a State under section 4 shall be deposited in the same Federal account in which the revenues would have been deposited if the lease or permit had been issued by the Federal Government.

(c) Effect On State Processing Fees.—Nothing in this Act prohibits a State from collecting and retaining a fee from an applicant to cover the administrative costs of processing an application for a lease or permit.

 

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Mr. Speaker,

Several leading Democrats, including the Minority Leader, have supported a resolution to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan. I supported that resolution at the time, and I still do. Our troops need to come home, and this administration and its military leadership should be working towards that result. But if we are serious about withdrawing our troops not just from Afghanistan but from the rest of the Middle East as well, we cannot do it without a plan to secure our energy independence. If we want to be out of the Middle East, we must start producing more of our own energy. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. We have to make a choice, and the Democrats who oppose things like the Keystone pipeline and other domestic energy proposals have to decide what they want. Either they want to be out of the Middle East, or they want to continue to shill for a radical environmentalist agenda and hinder American energy production. They can’t have both. As our population grows – a situation created in part because of our lax immigration policy – our energy demands will grow as well. Alternative sources are simply not enough to satisfy this demand. We need fossil fuels like coal and oil, and we need it from America – not Iran or Syria. We need bills like the Keystone authorization and this bill. I hope to see our colleagues on the other side of the aisle join me in support of this plan to make America energy independent.

I yield. 
 

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Mr, Speaker.

I agree that this country needs more energy independence. But fossil fuels are not the way to do it. We must turn to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The fact is that jobs are becoming less and less easy to find in coal and other fossil fuels. Solar is the new future. Coal, oil, and natural gas jobs employ 187,117. Solar jobs alone employ 374,000. More than double that of fossil fuels. And, while now renewable energy jobs are on the decline, renewable energy jobs are soaring with 25% more jobs between 20015 and 2016. And in Colorado, my state where there is much drilling happening and where you can find such beautiful places such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Pike National Forest, 69% of Coloradans oppose drilling on federal land. That's more than 2/3 of the population. It goes further than just Coloradans, in Arizona, 73% said that protecting the land is more valuable than drilling. In Idaho and Montana, 63%. In Nevada, 70%. New Mexico, 66% said conservation is more important than drilling. In Utah, the number was 64%. And in Wyoming, it was 49%. The people do not want this bill. The only people who want this bill are house republicans who don't want to listen to the people of America. But I guess the people's voice only really counts during election years. 

I yield.

 

http://fortune.com/2017/02/07/us-solar-jobs-2016/

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/stateoftherockies/conservationinthewest/

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HATCH: Mr. President, the following bill has passed by a vote of 266-169 in the House and 58-42 in the Senate and awaits your signature or veto. Should you choose to do neither within the next 10 days, the bill will become law, since Congress is in session.

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