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Bills Promise to Strengthen the US Energy Market

On 20 May, 2014

Several new ideas and policies that could potentially create energy jobs, spur energy independence while generating income both locally and state-wide, were introduced in the United States through bills in the past year. The three bills listed below have several proposed agendas but the common theme is opening new territory for oil and gas exploration while creating jobs.

“Opening federal lands and waters to energy exploration will allow us to build upon and extend, for future generations, the energy renaissance America has already witnessed on state and private lands, commented National Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi, in a press release. 

SEA Jobs Act

The recently introduced Southern Energy Access Jobs Act (SEA Jobs Act) advises to create jobs, strengthen America’s energy independence, and encourage science, technical, engineering and mathematical (STEM) education while helping to lower energy prices for low-income families.

SEA Jobs Act will reverse the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore Atlantic energy production and increase responsible offshore energy production in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, while creating one single “South Atlantic” offshore energy planning area.

“Safe, responsible energy production has the ability to transform our economy, creating thousands of new jobs in communities across the nation. The SEA Jobs Act will allow our nation’s energy sector to innovate and grow while meeting several important needs, including creating more opportunities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, increasing job opportunities for our nation’s veterans, and helping ease the burden of energy for families,” said Senator Tim Scott, who serves on both the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 

Moreover, the bill provides flexibility to states in the South Atlantic Planning area by providing the states more control over offshore areas closest to their shoreline, and helping protect coastal sightlines by allowing the prohibition of permanently visible drilling infrastructure up to 20 miles from the shoreline.

It also proposes to establish revenue sharing, allowing states within the South Atlantic planning area to receive 37.5 percent of all revenues from offshore energy production; while dedicating 10 percent of new federal revenue to deficit reduction.

SEA Jobs Act was introduced to the committee April 2.

Article title
Source: House Committee on Natural Resources

Offshore Energy and Jobs Act

The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act proposes to expand U.S. offshore energy production in order to create more than a million new American jobs, lower energy prices, grow the economy and strengthen national security, according to the legislation. This act would generate $1.5 billion in new revenue over 10 years and could create up to 1.2 million jobs long-term, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

If the bill is enacted, federal government barriers that block production will be removed while proposing a drill-smart, job-creation plan requiring the Administration to move forward with new offshore energy production in areas containing the most oil and natural gas resources – including the Atlantic and Pacific coast.

The plan also requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales that have been delayed or cancelled by the Obama administration, the legislation states, and implements a fair, equitable revenue sharing program for all coastal states.  

H.R. 2231 will add to the Interior Department’s reorganization of its offshore energy agencies by writing reforms into law and further enhancing the accountability, efficiency, safely and ethical standards of offshore energy operations.

“These reforms will allow for the robust and safe production of our nation’s offshore energy resources,” the bill states.  

The bill was passed by the House committee June 28, 2013 and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.

The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act of 2013

Poised to protect and expand offshore U.S. energy production, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act also proposes to create new jobs domestically by streamlining government red-tape and regulations.

H.R. 1965 states that it would reform the leasing process for onshore oil and natural gas projects on federal lands to:

  • eliminate unnecessary delays
  • reform the process for energy permitting, once a lease is in hand, to encourage the timely development of federal resources
  • ensure funds are available for efficient wind and solar permitting
  • set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources

This bill plans to expand onshore energy production by requiring the U.S. Interior Secretary to conduct new lease sales in areas identified with the greatest energy potential, prohibit the Interior Secretary from taking away leases already sold, set firm timelines for the Secretary to issue leases, and prohibit the Secretary from changing the rules after the leases and contracts have been finalized.

Furthermore, the Jobs and Energy Security Act states that at this time, energy producers on federal lands have to wait on average 30 percent longer for approval of an application for permit to drill while the average time to get a permit to drill approved on state lands is 12-15 days. This bill would ensure the timely approval of permits by setting a firm timeline for the Interior Secretary to act on a permit to drill.

“In recent years, we have seen a boom in energy jobs and economic growth on state and private lands. I believe the only reason we haven’t seen that same dynamic growth on federal lands is because of excess regulations. My bill would reduce the federal red tape and frivolous lawsuits that act as stumbling blocks to job creation and energy development. My bill would help American families with jobs and affordable prices at the pump. It’s time we return to common sense policies,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn for Colorado’s 5th congressional district.

This bill headed to the House floor in November 2013, was read a second time in December, and then placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.

According to Rigzone

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