PDF _ RL34111 - Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007, Title VI of H.R. 3221: Summary and Discussion of Oil and Gas Provisions
29-Feb-2008; Marc Humphries; 10 p.

Abstract: The conflict between environmental concerns and the need for increased domestic energy production from public lands continues to be a major policy issue. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005, P.L. 109-58), enacted several provisions that were aimed at expediting the development of oil and gas on public lands. Title VII (The Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007), of H.R. 3221 (New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection), most of which was originally introduced May 16, 2007, as H.R. 2337, would repeal or amend several of EPAct’s provisions related to oil and gas development on federal lands. Below are major provisions in H.R. 3221 related to oil and gas development on federal lands approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on June 13, 2007, by a vote of 26-22. The House approved H.R. 3221 on August 4, 2007, by a vote of 241-170. Selected provisions in Subtitle F — Additional Provisions, not included in the earlier version of H.R. 2337, are also discussed below. In a recent development, the House amended and passed (235-181) the Senate-passed version of energy policy legislation (H.R. 6) on December 6, 2007, but without the oil and gas provisions contained in Title VII of H.R. 3221 discussed below. Those oil and gas provisions in Title VII were not enacted into law (P.L. 110- 140).

Subtitle A would repeal subsections 365(g) and 365(i) of EPAct 2005 regarding recovery of permit processing costs. It would require the Secretary of the Interior to impose fees on the oil and gas industry to recover costs associated with the streamlining of permits during the pilot project established by EPAct to improve federal permit coordination. A new 45-day deadline would be imposed for the consideration of applications for permits under section 366 of EPAct 2005. Section 369 of EPAct would be amended by removing two deadlines related to oil shale research and development and the preparation of a final environmental impact statement for commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing on public lands. H.R. 3221 would limit section 390 of EPAct, which allows for a rebuttleable presumption regarding the application of categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for oil and gas exploration and development activities, and adhere to the regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality.

Subtitle B would require a minimum of 550 audits annually, and increase fines for royalty payment violations under the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982 (FOGRMA). Surface owner protection would be enhanced under split estates where the federal government owned and leased minerals. Additional requirements for the protection of water resources are included and new fees would be assessed to lessees of federal lands. Onshore oil and gas reclamation requirements would become more stringent.

Provisions in Subtitle F would establish an Oil Shale Community Impact Assistance Fund and prohibit surface occupancy on federal leases on top of the Roan Plateau, Colorado.

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Topics: Natural Resources, Economics & Trade, Risk & Reform

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