THE DAILY WHIP: THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014

For Immediate Release:

June 26, 2014

Contact:

Stephanie Young, Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:
9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes”

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 4899 – Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources/Judiciary). This bill is the combination of two partisan Republican bills that have already passed the House this Congress and is coming to the Floor with no Committee action.  Republicans are bringing this bill to the Floor under the guise that domestic energy production is only booming on private lands and that more drilling on public lands and waters will directly lead to lower consumer gas prices. However, this is not the case – as on shore oil production from federal lands is up nearly 30% since 2008 and gas prices have not gone down.  Further, domestic oil production is at a 25-year high, and net imports are at a 29-year low, yet prices at the pump have not changed.  This bill would do nothing to lower gas prices, but would prove costly to the public, as well as threaten tourism and recreation.
 
Title I of the bill is comprised of H.R. 2231 - “Offshore Energy and Jobs Act.”  This bill would direct the Interior Department to develop a new five-year offshore leasing plan that makes available for oil and gas exploration and development at least 50% of the unleased coastal areas with the most potential for energy production. The bill would create a nationwide revenue sharing system so coastal states would receive a 37.5% share of the federal royalties (revenue from offshore oil and gas leasing and development is currently one of the largest non-tax revenue streams for the federal government). This provision would allow states to use these revenues “for any purpose as determined by the laws of that State.” The bill also requires the plan to establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal under the Administration’s current 2012–2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing plan of 3 million barrels of oil per day and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2027 (which is triple current production levels). Lastly, the bill requires that drilling be allowed off the coasts of California, South Carolina, and Virginia, and statutorily reorganizes the Interior Department agencies that oversee offshore leasing and permitting, safety inspections and revenue collection.

Title II of the bill, comprised of H.R. 1965 – “Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act” – combines 5 Republican bills related to onshore drilling. The first bill, H.R. 1965, would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lease at least 25% of lands nominated by the oil and gas industry and to automatically approve any permit which has not been formally decided upon within 60 days. Further, it limits judicial review to 60 days after an approval and prohibits prevailing plaintiffs from recouping court and attorney’s fees.
 
The second bill, H.R. 1394, would direct Federal land managers to manage lands for the primary purpose of energy and mineral production, making all other uses, like hunting, fishing, camping, grazing, and conservation, secondary.
 
The third bill, H.R. 1964, would require the Secretary of the Interior to develop regulations to require action on drilling permits in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) within 60 days, despite existing regulations that already require consideration of such applications within 90 days.  Further, it would require the BLM to ensure that NPR-A leases are within 25 miles of roads and pipelines, forcing the development of a road and pipeline network despite no pending BLM applications to construct either.
 
The fourth bill, H.R. 555, would give the Secretary of the Interior the ability to conduct further onshore oil and gas lease sales using internet-based auctions, but does not require the Secretary to do so.
 
The fifth bill, H.R. 1548, would prohibit BLM from enforcing fracking regulations on tribal lands without the consent of the tribal government.

The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, provides for no further general debate and makes in order 10 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The amendments are:

Wittman/Duncan (SC) Amendment. Allows the Secretary of the Interior to add a lease sale area to a finalized 5-year oil and gas leasing plan, as long as all of the National Environmental Policy Act requirements have been met on that specific area within the last 5 years.
Lowenthal/Capps/Farr/Holt/Honda/Huffman/Langevin/Peters (CA)/Pingree/Shea-Porter/Lee Amendment. Strikes section 10410 of the bill which prohibits the Interior Department Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) from coordinating coastal and marine spatial planning under the National Ocean Policy.
Duncan (SC)/Rigell/Wittman/Hudson/Graves/Ellmers Amendment. Directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to include Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia into an administrative planning area for offshore oil and gas leasing purposes.
Wittman Amendment. Authorizes the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to partner with colleges, universities and historically black colleges and universities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia to train students in the geological and geophysical sciences to better understand the oil, gas and other hydrocarbon potential of the offshore South Atlantic.
Capps/Brownley/Huffman/Lowenthal Amendment. Requires the Secretary of Interior to notify all relevant state and local regulatory agencies and publish a notice in the Federal Register within 30 days after receiving any application for a permit that would allow the conduct of any offshore oil and gas well stimulation activities.
Deutch Amendment. Strikes section 10702 of the bill.  That section says that legal action involving an oil and gas leasing decision shall take precedence over all other pending matters before a federal district court.
Blumenauer Amendment. Requires companies holding leases, which allow them to drill on public lands offshore without paying a royalty, to renegotiate those leases prior to bidding on new leases issued pursuant to Title I of this Act.
Bishop (UT) Amendment. Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from canceling, deferring or withdrawing any lease previously announced to be auctioned based on public comments received by the Department after the public comment period has expired.
Jackson-Lee Amendment. Establishes an Office of Energy Employment and Training to ensure that veterans, women, and underrepresented minorities are fully included in the hiring and training efforts of the Department of the Interior's energy planning, permitting, and regulatory agencies.
DeFazio Amendment. Authorizes $10 million of the revenue generated by the underlying bill for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to use existing authority to limit speculation in energy markets.

Bill Text for H.R. 4899:
PDF Version

 
The Daily Quote

“With Americans overwhelmingly focused on the need to create jobs and grow our economy, business owners are understandably perplexed by the inside-the-Beltway campaign against the Ex-Im Bank. In particular, the thousands of small businesses that depend on the bank to be able to access foreign markets are stunned at the threat that Washington could let its charter lapse. However, we won’t let that happen.”

-    Tom Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 6/23/2014