“Today, we came one-step closer to undoing the Obama Administration’s politically motivated actions in Northern Minnesota,” said Congressman Emmer. “I am proud that my bipartisan MINER Act passed the House Committee on Natural Resources. Passage of this legislation ensures Minnesotans have a say in sweeping bureaucratic decisions made in Washington. Environmentally responsible mining and exploration in Northern Minnesota will unleash our ability to tap into our abundance of natural resources, and provide for a better way of life for our children, just as those in Northern Minnesota have done for decades. We can preserve our beautiful state without permanently destroying any future job creation or economic development. We can utilize the largest untapped copper-nickel deposit in the world for Americans, and in an environmentally sound way. While there are still numerous environmental and safety benchmarks that must be met in the coming years before any mining can occur, passage of the MINER Act will let our federal, state, and local environmental review process to proceed. I am thankful for the leadership of Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, and the support of my colleagues – the future of Minnesota is brighter because of today’s vote.”
Congressman Gosar said, “It would be amazing progress for our country’s pro-energy agenda if we were able to get one of these bills through the House Natural Resources Committee. The fact that we passed all three in a single day is a testament to Chairman Bishop’s talented leadership of the Committee. Majority Whip Scalise and Chairman Bishop’s H.R. 4239 establishes improved processes for oil, gas and wind that will make better use of our plentiful offshore resources and empowers states to streamline onshore oil and gas development. This bill is the posterchild for American energy dominance. Vice-Chairman Tipton’s bill cultivates our country’s potential by requiring the federal government to chart a course for comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy production. Finally, Mr. Emmer’s H.R. 3905 reverses a heavy-handed move by the Obama Administration that unilaterally withdrew hundreds of thousands of acres in Minnesota from mineral development and improperly terminated two federal mineral leases. A President shouldn’t be able to halt community-driven development that will provide billions for public education simply because he decides he doesn’t like energy and mineral production. I thank all four gentleman for their commitment to sensible, sustainable energy policies.”
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed nine bills. The full markup video and more information can be viewed HERE.
Included in these measures are three important pieces of legislation that support American energy dominance, roll back job-killing mandates from the previous administration and embrace a true all-of-the-above energy policy:
? H.R. 4239 (Rep. Steve Scalise), “Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand American Energy Act” or “the SECURE American Energy Act”.
? H.R. 3905 (Rep. Tom Emmer), “Minnesota's Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act” or “the Miner Act”.
? H.R. 2907 (Rep. Scott Tipton), “Planning for American Energy Act of 2017”.
H.R. 4239, the SECURE American Energy Act
Courtesy of the House Committee on Natural Resources
The SECURE American Energy Act seeks to optimize management of our nation’s energy resources by increasing access to and promoting the development of oil, gas, and wind energy. Title I, or the ASTRO Act, facilitates access to oil and gas resources across America’s Outer Continental Shelf (“OCS”) lands. This bill establishes a revenue sharing framework to distribute revenues collected from oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf to certain coastal states.
The Act increases the amount that can be distributed to qualifying Gulf states under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, and limits the President’s authority to withdraw certain areas of the OCS from oil and gas leasing. Finally, this bill increases regulatory certainty by requiring the execution of all approved oil and gas lease sales, should the Secretary of the Interior call for a revised national lease sale program. Furthermore, this bill strategizes offshore wind lease sales by requiring feasibility and compatibility studies, and streamlines the MMPA permitting process.
Title II, or the “ONSHORE Act,” enables states with established permitting and regulatory programs to manage certain federal permitting and regulatory responsibilities for oil and gas development on Federal lands within their borders. This Act directs the Secretary of the Interior to designate preferred leasing areas for oil and gas development and to defer to the states regarding the regulation of hydraulic fracturing practices.
A press release from the House Committee on Resources on this bill can be viewed HERE.
H.R. 3905, the MINER Act
On January 19th, 2017, the day before President Trump was sworn in, the previous administration published a mineral withdrawal application in the Federal Register to restrict approximately 235,000 acres of federal land, roughly 420,000 acres when you include state and private lands, in northeast Minnesota from future mineral leasing, exploration and potential development.
This immediately placed this vast area off limits to development for up to two years while the 20–year withdrawal application is being considered. Twin Metals two leases, were also improperly terminated by the previous administration. Leases that were signed in 1966 and renewed without controversy in 1989 and 2004.
All this was done without the mining company most harmed by this action even being allowed to propose a mining plan.
The Boundary Waters is a 1.1. million acre wilderness area that already has buffer zones between the forest. No one is advocating to mine in the wilderness area or surrounding buffer zones. No one is looking to skirt environmental laws or National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Any mining plan, once it is actually allowed to be proposed, would have to go through NEPA.
The valuable mineral deposits are in the Superior National Forest, not the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area or surrounding buffers. In fact, there are more than 4 billion tons of ore containing copper, nickel and other metal resources within Minnesota’s Duluth Complex, which represents the largest known undeveloped deposit of strategic metals in the world. Congress has authorized mining in the forest by law two different times, and the 1986 Forest Service and 2004 Forest Plans both concluded mining is “a desired condition” in the Superior National Forest.
Minnesota is projected to lose up to $3 billion in royalty revenues for the State’s Permanent School Trust Fund that would support nearly 900,000 K-12 students statewide if the withdrawal application and cancelled leases are not rejected by the new administration.
An excellent video produced by Jobs for Minnesotans where you can hear from the people of Minnesota can be viewed by clicking HERE or on the picture below.
A press release from Rep. Emmer on this bill can be viewed HERE. A previous Western Caucus press release on this issue can be viewed HERE.
H.R. 2907, Planning for American Energy Act of 2017
Courtesy of the House Committee on Natural Resources
This bill directs the Secretary of Interior to develop an all-of-the-above energy production strategy for all onshore Federal lands every 4 years.
Under current law, the Administration is required to submit to Congress a plan for the offshore oil and gas leasing program every five years. This requirement ensures that comprehensive planning for the responsible development of our offshore energy resources occurs at regular intervals.
However, such a planning requirement for onshore energy resources does not exist.
H.R. 2907 seeks to address inefficiencies in the current approach to onshore energy
development on Federal land by implementing an all-of-the-above Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy based on projected energy demand over a 30-year period.
The bill instructs the Secretary to include domestic strategic production objectives for onshore oil and gas, coal, strategic and critical energy minerals, renewables, unconventional sources and helium, including on Tribal lands, as well as any other energy resources that the Secretary chooses to include.
A press release from Rep. Tipton on this bill can be viewed HERE.