NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House Committee on Natural Resources ahead of a markup scheduled for December 6, 2023.
H.R. 6009 – Restoring American Energy Dominance Act: NPCA opposes this legislation, which stops the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from updating its onshore oil and gas program for the first time in 35 years. Not only does this legislation halt a public regulatory process partway through, it prohibits BLM from proposing any substantially similar rules. This effectively prohibits BLM from updating this program in the future, making it harder for the agency to oversee the federal onshore leasing program.
The proposed rule has been in the works for years. It follows recommendations by the Government Accountability Office and implements reforms already passed into law. In the rule, BLM makes the leasing process more straightforward and streamlines paperwork and filing requirements for industry, making the leasing and auctions processes more consistent and updated for the 21st century. The proposed rule also ensures that BLM considers proximity to national parks and other special places during the parcel selection process. By taking a holistic approach to parcel selection, BLM can avoid conflicts later in the leasing process and costly and time-consuming lawsuits while protecting irreplaceable cultural and natural treasures. This approach also ensures that lands used for conservation and recreation purposes by millions of Americans are not impeded by oil and gas development.
BLM’s proposed rule goes a long way towards protecting national parks and their connected landscapes from oil and gas development. NPCA supports the proposed rule’s common-sense reforms and believes BLM should be allowed to complete the regulatory process. During the comment period for the proposed rule, over 99% of all comments were supportive. The current leasing system and onshore oil and gas program is antiquated and does not offer proper oversight or ensure protections and fair returns to American taxpayers. Passing this legislation would leave BLM unable to properly oversee this program and could cause unnecessary harm to our special places.
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Director of Clean Energy and Climate Resiliency Policy