Washington, D.C. – This morning, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) spoke at a forum focused on American Energy Independence hosted by House Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee and the Congressional Western Caucus.
During the forum, Rep. Cheney introduced Jonah Energy’s Paul Ulrich, and emphasized the harm President Biden’s energy policies are having on Wyoming. See below for her introduction of Mr. Ulrich and the questions that she asked of him:
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Well, thanks very much, Ranking Member Westerman, and thanks to you as well, Chairman Newhouse. Thanks for the opportunity to introduce a dear friend and somebody who is doing really important work for Wyoming and for the country. Paul is the Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Jonah Energy in Pinedale. I had the opportunity to visit with him just a few weeks ago about some of the really important work they’re doing on helping to detect emissions and what we can do to use technology for that.
Paul is a fourth generation Wyomingite and a 25-year veteran in our oil and gas industry. He is extremely well-known all across our state, serves on several critical boards and organizations, and he currently serves as Chairman of the Wyoming Energy Authority. He has previously served as the Chairman of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and of the BLM Wyoming Resource Advisory Council. Paul is also a member of Wyoming Governor Gordon’s Sage Grouse Implementation Team.
He’s going to be testifying this morning on the contributions the oil and gas industry has made to our state’s conservation efforts and economic well being, and how the regulatory uncertainty and a lack of transparency really has a negative impact on development. So, with that I will turn things over to Paul Ulrich.
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Thank you very much, Ranking Member Westerman. I wondered if Paul Ulrich — if Paul is still on — I wanted to get your thoughts, in particular. If you could give us some more specifics about the impact of the increased royalty rates, increased bonding amounts, the leasing moratorium — really, what specific impact that has with respect to uncertainty and reticence on the part of producers, in particular, natural gas operators and oil operators to invest in development on federal lands. Just give us some sense of — particularly for a state like Wyoming, what that’s likely to mean if we see these policies continue in place.
PAUL ULRICH:Congresswoman Cheney, thanks for the question, that’s near and dear to all of us in Wyoming. Simply put, it, you know — any significant increase or change in royalty rates, cost of doing business from regulatory perspective could be devastating. To put it frankly, Wyoming in federal land production is already at a competitive disadvantage. It takes us longer to get permits, you know, through a myriad of NEPA processes. You know, throughout the years you can see large projects that could take 12 to 18 months to get stood up in a private circumstance, it takes seven to ten years in Wyoming. I’ve experienced more than a few of them — Congresswoman, you’re very well versed on a couple of them. So, the bottom line is: it’s more expensive, it takes longer to compete, from a Wyoming federal land perspective. So, anytime that cost is raised and timelines aren’t shrunk, it could have very, very significant impacts on capital deployment. In addition to that, if we do see regulatory or policy changes that, once again, only target federal operators and raise the cost of us doing business, you know, and employing and responding to those regulations, it could have that equal and negative impact as well. Economically, it’s very, very difficult for us to compete. We’re further from market for sand and pipe. It’s more expensive. It takes longer for us to get permits, and anything that negatively impacts that makes it worse. We’d like to see that trend change and go the opposite direction, given how responsible we can produce energy in that country.
REP. CHENEY: Well, thank you for that, and given that we are in this unfortunate situation where we know we’re going to have bad policies continue to come from the Biden Administration on these issues, can you give us some advice about steps Congress can take, at least in the near term, to create some more certainty for the industry, particularly when it comes to the exploration and development on public lands?
PAUL ULRICH:Absolutely. First and foremost, the status quo on royalty rates, etc. is a major issue for us. Working with the Administration to solidify a longer term energy strategy that recognizes how important federal land development is, and incentivizing development on federal land so we can be more competitive domestically, and just as importantly, more competitive globally. We have a tremendous opportunity to export the cleanest natural gas on the planet — we’re developing that right here in Wyoming. The ability to export that and compete on a global level, and meet climate goals is a serious opportunity for federal land producers we should not pass up.
REP. CHENEY: Well, I appreciate that, and really appreciate the leadership role that you’ve taken for us, and that can be a real model for the country. Thank you for the time today, and thanks very much, both to Ranking Member Westerman and Chairman Newhouse for putting on these really important panels and sessions on these key issues. And with that, I will yield back. Thank you.