Oil and gas leasing on federal lands is revving up in Colorado and across the West, with shorter time frames for comment and bigger lease sales as environmental groups rush to meet today's deadline to get in their protests on the upcoming September lease sales.
While the big, ground-dwelling bird known as the greater sage-grouse relies upon the West’s sagebrush steppe for its living, its survival may rest on a delicately negotiated set of agreements -- agreements that the Trump administration is set to upend.
Energy demand is growing in the United States. In order to meet the energy needs of the future, it is critical that we develop an all-of-the-above energy strategy that incorporates renewable resources as well as responsible development of fossil fuels.
I recently introduced the Planning for American Energy Act, which is a bill that would set us on the path toward creating an all-of-the-above energy strategy by requiring the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to develop forward-looking energy plans that include all resources: wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, oil, natural gas, coal, oil shale and minerals.
We will need to make significant investments in energy infrastructure in order to make an all-of-the-above energy future a reality, but the current permitting process for energy infrastructure is a spider web of regulations that often prevents important projects from moving forward.
We recently passed two bills in the House of Representatives to address the permitting process for natural gas and oil pipelines. The two bills, the Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act (H.R. 2910) and the Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act (H.R. 2883), centralize permitting authority within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Too often, energy infrastructure projects get held up in the permitting process for years, even decades. The cost of the project grows and there is no certainty that it will ever be approved. The result? Fewer companies are inclined to build the infrastructure we’ll need to meet future energy demands.
The Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act would address part of this problem by requiring any federal agency that is participating in an infrastructure project to either deny or approve a permit within 90 days of FERC completing its review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Another issue that has prevented energy infrastructure projects from moving forward is the lack of any standardized permit process for international projects – projects that cross from the U.S. into Canada or Mexico. Currently, the approval process for international projects follows Executive Order precedent, which can be highly subjective. The lack of certainty hurts U.S. energy infrastructure.
The Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act creates a streamlined, standardized process within FERC for permitting cross-border projects. The bill would also give the Secretary of Energy the authority to approve electric transmission facility projects.
Both of the bills we passed last week are not only critical to U.S. energy security, but they will also help support good-paying jobs in Colorado. The Western Energy Alliance reports that responsible oil and gas development in the Third Congressional District alone supports over 7,800 direct and indirect jobs, totaling over $820 million in wages and over $2.2 billion in total economic output. Sustaining these jobs and their resulting economic output requires investments in energy infrastructure.
While we still have a long way to go, we’ve already seen progress from efforts to simplify and streamline federal regulations. I’m committed to ensuring our regulatory process supports the infrastructure investments we’ll need to create an all-of-the-above energy future and grow good-paying jobs in the United States.
There’s are a lot of good reasons why they don’t call it global warming anymore, and Saturday revealed a good one as snow fell on downtown Denver’s People’s Climate March. Denver’s march on climate change was one of dozens across the country to protest President Trump’s climate change policies and deep cuts into regulatory agencies. Even the Western regional […]
Well, that was a short retirement. Jack Ekstrom is back in the oil-and-gas fight as a soldier for hire. He retired last year as the vice president of corporate and government relations for Denver-based Whiting Petroleum Corp. This week Ekstrom announced he’s launching his own firm, PolicyWorks America, based in Denver. Of no surprise, his specialty will be […]
The U.S. House voted Friday morning, 221 to 191, to repeal new rules that require those who operate drilling wells on public lands to capture leaked or vented methane. The Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Waste Rule put a stop to companies venting the wells into the atmosphere, a practice that was defended by industry in hearings and a […]
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is throwing her support behind the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as it defends itself in court against environmentalists opposed to oil and gas development projects.
The environmentalists are pursuing a federal lawsuit to halt Bureau of Land Management oil and gas leases in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
The oil companies plan to drill for oil and use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on 379,950 acres of public lands.
Despite a growing list of climate change doubters and fossil fuel industry supporters and executives comprising the list of Trump administration cabinet nominees, Democratic Colorado lawmakers and environmentalists are hopeful the state’s clean energy economy and outdoor recreation industry can continue to thrive.
Mostly, though, there’s a growing sense of dread from the conservation community as President-elect Donald Trump picks people like Republican Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke for the post of Interior Secretary, former Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Energy Secretary and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Oil and gas industry representatives, meanwhile, are eagerly looking forward to Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20.
About a third of Colorado is owned by the federal government and managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. Coal mining and oil and gas companies have for the past eight years of the Obama administration lamented environmental regulations perceived as hurdles to energy production on public lands.
The federal government needs to consider greenhouse emissions and the potential contribution to climate change before allowing oil and gas development on public land, two environmental groups asserted Thursday in a lawsuit over drilling in Western states.