Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Liz Cheney introduced the Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act in the House on Wednesday.
“The energy industry, the lifeblood of our economy in Wyoming, has been severely burdened by lengthy and often frivolous protests on energy projects. 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. Last year in Wyoming, over 80% of oil and gas lease sales were protested, but the DOI only removed four leases of land 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,” Congresswoman Liz Cheney said.
“Stubborn obstructionism, when there’s no good reason for it, shouldn’t pay off. Our country is on the verge of a major energy expansion. Tapping into our nation’s vast resources will benefit all Americans and bring 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,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said.
- Under current law, individuals and organizations may submit protests on oil and gas lease sales, applications for permit to drill (APDs), and right of way applications for oil and gas operations on federal land.
- The BLM must process and resolve each lease before issuing the respective permit, lease, or right of way.
- The DOI is not authorized to collect any fees for protests.
- The amount of protests have risen sharply in past years. In 2017, 88% of parcels were protested. The 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.
- This bill authorizes the DOI to assess an administrative fee to recover the cost of processing protests filed on oil and gas lease sales, APDs, and right of way applications.
- This bill requires protestors to submit a $150 filing fee for each protest submission under 10 pages in length and an additional $5 for each page over 10 pages. An additional $10 will be assessed for every additional lease parcel, right of way, or APD included in a single protest submission.