Text: H.R.3694 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (10/01/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3694


To establish judicial procedures for causes and claims relating to any action or decision by a Federal official regarding the leasing of Federal lands (including submerged lands) for the exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, or any other source or form of energy, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 1, 2009

Mr. Broun of Georgia introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To establish judicial procedures for causes and claims relating to any action or decision by a Federal official regarding the leasing of Federal lands (including submerged lands) for the exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, or any other source or form of energy, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Removing Excess Litigation Involving Energy on Federal Lands Act” or the “RELIEF Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds that—

(1) the United States spends over $1 billion per day to import crude oil from foreign countries;

(2) such expenditure represents the largest wealth transfer in history;

(3) the United States has at least 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the outer Continental Shelf;

(4) environmental groups have legally challenged every lease in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas;

(5) environmental groups have legally challenged the entire 2007–2012 5-year national outer Continental Shelf leasing program;

(6) such legal challenges significantly delay or ultimately prevent energy resources from reaching the American public;

(7) these legal challenges come at a high cost to the American public and the American economy; and

(8) Congress finds that expedited judicial review is necessary to prevent this gross abuse of the United States judicial system.

SEC. 3. Exclusive jurisdiction over causes and claims relating to covered energy projects.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear all causes and claims under this Act or any other Act that arise from any covered energy project.

SEC. 4. Time for filing complaint.

All causes and claims referred to in section 3 must be filed not later than the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the action or decision by a Federal official that constitutes the covered energy project concerned. Any cause or claim not filed within that time period shall be barred.

SEC. 5. District court for the District of Columbia deadline.

(a) In general.—All proceedings that are subject to section 3—

(1) shall be resolved as expeditiously as possible, and in any event not more than 180 days after such cause or claim is filed; and

(2) shall take precedence over all other pending matters before the district court.

(b) Failure To comply with deadline.—If an interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order has not been issued by the district court by the deadline described under this section, the cause or claim shall be dismissed with prejudice and all rights relating to such cause or claim shall be terminated.

SEC. 6. Ability to seek appellate review.

An interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order of the district court may be reviewed by no other court except the Supreme Court.

SEC. 7. Deadline for appeal to the Supreme Court.

If a writ of certiorari has been granted by the Supreme Court pursuant to section 6, then—

(1) the interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order of the district court shall be resolved as expeditiously as possible and in any event not more than 180 days after such interlocutory or final judgment, decree, order of the district court is issued; and

(2) all such proceedings shall take precedence over all other matters then before the Supreme Court.

SEC. 8. Limitation on scope of review and relief.

(a) Administrative Findings and Conclusions.—In any judicial review of any Federal action under this Act, any administrative findings and conclusions relating to the challenged Federal action shall be presumed to be correct unless shown otherwise by clear and convincing evidence contained in the administrative record.

(b) Limitation on Prospective Relief.—In any judicial review of any action, or failure to act, under this Act, the Court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the Court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of a Federal law requirement, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation concerned.

SEC. 9. Legal fees.

Any person filing a petition seeking judicial review of any action, or failure to act, under this Act who is not a prevailing party shall pay to the prevailing parties (including intervening parties), other than the United States, fees and other expenses incurred by that party in connection with the judicial review, unless the Court finds that the position of the person was substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award unjust.

SEC. 10. Exclusion.

This Act shall not apply with respect to disputes between the parties to a lease issued pursuant to an authorizing leasing statute regarding the obligations of such lease or the alleged breach thereof.

SEC. 11. Covered energy project defined.

In this Act, the term “covered energy project” means any action or decision by a Federal official regarding—

(1) the leasing of Federal lands (including submerged lands) for the exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, or any other source or form of energy, including actions and decisions regarding the selection or offering of Federal lands for such leasing; or

(2) any action under such a lease.