Summary: H.R.4899 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (06/26/2014)

Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 - Title I: Offshore Energy - Subtitle A: Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program Reforms and Jobs - (Sec. 10101) Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) to direct the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to implement a leasing program that includes at least 50% of the available unleased acreage within each outer Continental Shelf (OCS) planning area considered to have the largest undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources, with an emphasis on offering the most geologically prospective parts of the planning area.

(Sec. 10102) Directs the Secretary, in developing a five-year oil and gas leasing program, to determine a domestic strategic production goal, meeting specified criteria, for the development of oil and natural gas.

Sets the production goal as an increase by 2032 of: (1) at least 3 million barrels of oil produced per day, and (2) at least 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas produced per day.

(Sec. 10103) Requires the Secretary to: (1) submit to Congress a new proposed oil and gas leasing program for the 5-year period beginning on July 15, 2015, and ending July 15, 2021, and (2) approve a final oil and gas leasing program by July 15, 2016.

(Sec. 10104) Prohibits any construction of this Act as authorizing the issuance of a lease under the OCSLA to any person designated for the imposition of sanctions pursuant to:

  • the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996;
  • the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestiture Act of 2010;
  • the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012;
  • the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012;
  • the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012;
  • Executive Orders 13622, 13628, or 13645 (Iran sanctions);
  • Executive Order 13224 (transactions with those who commit or support terrorism);
  • Executive Order 13338 (Syria sanctions); or
  • the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.

(Sec. 10105) Authorizes the Secretary to add more areas to an approved leasing program if all review and documents required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) have been completed with respect to leasing of each such additional area within the preceding five years.

Subtitle B: Directing the President to Conduct New OCS Sales - (Sec. 10201) Directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 220 within one year after enactment of this Act, and (2) make replacement lease blocks acceptable for oil and gas exploration and production available in the Virginia lease sale planning area for any lease blocks about which the Secretary of Defense (DOD) proposes deferral from a lease offering because of defense-related activities irreconcilable with mineral exploration and development.

(Sec. 10202) Directs the Secretary to conduct a lease sale within two years after enactment of this Act for areas off the coast of South Carolina with the most geologically promising hydrocarbon resources and constituting of at least 25% of the leasable area within the South Carolina offshore administrative boundaries.

(Sec. 10203) Directs the Secretary to: (1) offer for sale by December 31, 2015, leases of tracts in the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara/Ventura Basins of the Southern California OCS Planning Area, and (2) prepare a multisale environmental impact statement pursuant to NEPA for all lease sales required under this Act.

(Sec. 10205) Retains the authority of the Secretary of Defense (DOD), with the approval of the President, to designate national defense areas on the OCS.

(Sec. 10206) Declares that this Act does not affect restrictions on oil and gas leasing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

Subtitle C: Equitable Sharing of Outer Continental Shelf Revenues - (Sec. 10301) Allocates, via specified phased-in increments, 37.5% of the amount of new federal leasing revenues to coastal states that are: (1) affected by the leases under which those revenues are received by the United States, and (2) within 200 miles of the leased tract.

Prescribes an allocation schedule for coastal states within 200 miles of the leased tract, in amounts inversely proportional to the respective distances between the point on the coastline of each such state that is closest to the geographic center of the lease tract.

Subtitle D: Reorganization of Minerals Management Agencies of the Department of the Interior - (Sec. 10401) Establishes in the Department of the Interior: (1) an Under Secretary for Energy, Lands, and Minerals; (2) an Assistant Secretary of Ocean Energy and Safety; (3) an Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management; (4) a Bureau of Ocean Energy, to administer a comprehensive program of offshore mineral and renewable energy resources management; (5) an Ocean Energy Safety Service, to administer safety and environmental enforcement activities related to offshore mineral and renewable energy resources on the OCS; and (6) an Office of Natural Resources Revenue, to administer offshore royalty and revenue management functions.

(Sec. 10403) Requires the Secretary to establish a National Offshore Energy Safety Academy as an agency of the Ocean Energy Safety Service.

(Sec. 10405) Directs the Secretary to: (1) certify annually that all Department of the Interior personnel having regular, direct official contact with lessees, government contractors, and certain other businesses, or conducting investigations, issuing permits, or overseeing energy programs, comply fully with federal employee ethics laws and regulations; and (2) conduct a program of random drug testing of such personnel.

(Sec. 10406) Abolishes the Minerals Management Service.

(Sec. 10408) Directs the Secretary to establish an Outer Continental Shelf Energy Safety Advisory Board.

(Sec. 10409) Directs the Secretary to collect specified non-refundable fees, including fees for drilling rigs, from operators of facilities subject to inspection.

Establishes in the Treasury the Ocean Energy Enforcement Fund as depository for such fees.

(Sec. 10410) Prohibits the Bureau of Ocean Energy and the Ocean Energy Safety Service from developing, proposing, finalizing, administering, or implementing any limitation on activities under their jurisdictions as a result of the coastal and marine spatial planning component of the National Ocean Policy developed under Executive Order 13547.

Requires the President to report to Congress on all federal expenditures in FY2011-FY2014 by such agencies concerning that component.

Subtitle E: United States Territories - (Sec. 10501) Redefines the OCS to include all submerged lands lying within the U.S. exclusive economic zone and the Continental Shelf adjacent to any U.S. territory.

Subtitle F: Miscellaneous Provisions - (Sec. 10601) Directs the Secretary to promulgate rules regarding revenue streams contemplated by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006, including the timing and methods of disbursements of certain funds under such Act.

(Sec. 10602) Increases, for FY2024-FY2055, the maximum amount of qualified OCS revenues distributed to Gulf producing states.

(Sec. 10603) Defines the "South Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Planning Area" as the OCS area located between the northern lateral seaward administrative boundary of Virginia and the southernmost lateral seaward administrative boundary of Georgia.

(Sec. 10604) Amends OCSLA to require the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, to enter into partnerships to conduct oil- or gas-related geological and geophysical investigations on the OCS with institutions of higher education nominated by the governors of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Subtitle G: Judicial Review - (Sec. 10701) Requires a cause of action arising from any action or decision by a federal official regarding the issuance of an energy lease under this Act to be filed 60 days after such action or decision, unless the plaintiff is a party to such a lease.

(Sec. 10702) Sets forth: (1) deadlines for case initiation and resolution in U.S. district court and for review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, (2) limitations on judicial review, and (3) a requirement that a person who is not a prevailing party shall pay legal fees in connection with judicial review to the prevailing parties.

Title II: Onshore Federal Lands and Energy Security - Subtitle A: Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security - Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act - (Sec. 21002) Directs the Secretary, when practicable, to encourage the use of U.S. workers and equipment manufactured in the U.S. in all construction related to mineral resource development under this Act.

Chapter 1: Onshore Oil and Gas Permit Streamlining - Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2014 - Subchapter A: Application for Permits to Drill Process Reform - (Sec. 21111) Amends the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) to direct the Secretary to decide whether to issue a permit to drill within 30 days after receiving a permit application. Authorizes the Secretary to extend the initial 30-day permit application review period for up to two periods of 15 days each, with written notice to the applicant.

Deems a permit application approved if the Secretary has not made a decision by 60 days after its receipt. Prescribes follow-up requirements if an application is denied, including allowing resubmission of an application and a decision to issue or deny within 10 days after resubmission.

Requires the Secretary to collect a single $6,500 permit processing fee per application at the time the decision is made whether to issue a permit.

Subchapter B: Administrative Protest Documentation Reform - (Sec. 21121) Directs the Secretary to collect a $5,000 documentation fee to accompany each protest for a lease, right of way, or application for permit to drill. Requires 50% of all such fees to remain in the field office where they are collected and used to process protests subject to appropriation.

Subchapter C: Permit Streamlining - (Sec. 21131) Requires the Secretary to: (1) establish a Federal Permit Streamlining Project in every Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field office with responsibility for permitting energy projects on federal land, and (2) enter into a related memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Authorizes the Secretary to request that the Governor of any state with energy projects on federal lands be a signatory to the MOU.

Requires all federal signatories to such a MOU, if appropriate, to assign to each BLM field office staff with special expertise in the pertinent regulatory issues.

Requires such staff to: (1) be responsible for all issues relating to the energy projects that arise under the authorities of the employee's home agency; and (2) participate as part of the team of personnel working on proposed energy projects, planning, and environmental analyses on federal lands.

Directs the Secretary to assign to each relevant BLM field office additional personnel to ensure the effective approval and implementation of energy projects administered by BLM field offices, including inspection and enforcement relating to energy development on federal land in accordance with the multiple use mandate of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

(Sec. 21132) Prohibits the Secretary, in managing federal lands under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPA 2005) in connection with oil or natural gas drilling, from requiring a finding of extraordinary circumstances under a review pursuant to NEPA.

(A "categorical exclusion" under NEPA is a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a federal agency in implementing environmental regulations and for which, therefore, neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is required. In certain "extraordinary circumstances," however, such as a crucial habitat area or animal migration corridor, a normally excluded action may have a significant environmental effect, and so Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement would be required.)

Subchapter D: Judicial Review - (Sec. 21142) Sets forth requirements for judicial review of a claim regarding agency action affecting the leasing of federal lands for exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, or any other source of energy.

Subchapter E: Knowing America's Oil and Gas Resources - (Sec. 21151) Requires the Secretary to provide matching funding of up to 50% for joint projects with states to conduct oil and gas resource assessments on federal lands with significant oil and gas potential.

Authorizes the appropriation of $50 million for FY2015-FY2018 to implement such assessments.

Chapter 2: Oil and Gas Leasing Certainty - Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act of 2014 - (Sec. 21202) Requires the Secretary, in conducting lease sales under the MLA, to offer for sale at least 25% of the annual nominated acreage not previously made available for lease.

Shields such acreage from protest. Makes it eligible for certain categorical exclusions under Energy Policy Act of 2005, but not subject to the test of extraordinary circumstances,

(Sec. 21203) Amends the MLA to prohibit the Secretary from: (1) withdrawing any covered energy project without finding a violation of lease terms by the lessee; (2) infringing upon lease rights by indefinitely delaying issuance of project approvals, drilling and seismic permits, and rights of way for activities under a lease; or (3) cancelling or withdrawing any lease parcel after a competitive lease sale has occurred and a winning bidder has made the last payment for the parcel.

Instructs the Secretary to: (1) make nominated areas available for lease within 18 months after an area is designated as open under a current land use plan, (2) issue all leases sold 60 days after the last payment is made, and (3) adjudicate lease protests filed following a lease sale.

Prohibits the Secretary from canceling or withdrawing any lease parcel: (1) after the conclusion of the public comment period for a planned competitive lease sale, or (2) after a competitive lease sale has occurred and a winning bidder has submitted the last payment for it.

Requires the Secretary to adjudicate any lease protests filed following a lease sale within 60 days after the sale is held. Declares any protest automatically denied, and the protestor's appeal rights to begin, if after 60 days the protest is left unsettled.

Prohibits additional lease stipulations after the parcel is sold without consultation and agreement of the lessee (except certain emergency actions to conserve U.S. resources).

(Sec. 21204) Requires federal land managers to follow existing resource management plans and continue to lease actively in areas designated as open when resource management plans are being amended or revised, until such time as a new record of decision is signed.

(Sec. 21205) Declares without force or effect BLM Instruction Memorandum 2010-117 (which establishes a process to ensure orderly, effective, timely, and environmentally responsible leasing of oil and gas resources on federal lands).

Chapter 3: Oil Shale - Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security Act or the PIONEERS Act - (Sec. 21302) Deems the final regulations regarding oil shale management published by the BLM on November 18, 2008, to satisfy all legal and procedural requirements under any law, including the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and NEPA.

Directs the Secretary to implement those regulations, including the oil shale leasing program they authorize, without any other administrative action necessary.

Deems also the November 17, 2008, U.S. Bureau of Land Management Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments/Record of Decision for Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resources to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to satisfy all legal and procedural requirements under any law.

Directs the Secretary to implement the oil shale leasing program in those areas covered by the resource management plans amended by such amendments, and covered by such record of decision, without any other administrative action necessary.

(Sec. 21303) Directs the Secretary to hold a lease sale, within 180 days after enactment of this Act, that offers an additional ten parcels for lease for research, development, and demonstration of oil shale resources under the terms offered in the solicitation of bids for such leases published on January 15, 2009.

Requires the Secretary, by January 1, 2016, to hold at least five separate commercial lease sales, in multiple lease blocs, in areas of at least 25,000 acres, which: (1) have been nominated through public comment, and (2) are considered to have the most potential for oil shale development.

Chapter 4: Miscellaneous Provisions - (Sec. 21401) Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the issuance of a lease under the MLA to any person designated for the imposition of sanctions pursuant to specified Executive Orders, certain statutes relating to Iran Sanctions, and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.

Subtitle B: Planning for American Energy - Planning for American Energy Act of 2014 - (Sec. 22002) Amends the MLA to direct the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) with regard to lands administered by the Forest Service, to publish every four years a Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy to direct federal land energy development and department resource allocation in order to promote the energy and national security of the United States in accordance with the BLM mission to promote the multiple use of federal lands.

Requires the Secretary to consult with the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration on the projected U.S. energy demands for the next 30 years and on how energy derived from federal onshore lands can put the United States on a trajectory that meets that demand during the next four years, with a goal for increasing energy independence and production.

Directs the Secretary to determine a domestic strategic production objective for the development of energy resources from such lands.

Expresses the sense of Congress that federally recognized Indian tribes may elect to set their own production objectives as part of the strategy.

Grants the relevant Secretary all authority necessary to make determinations regarding which additional federal lands available for leasing at the time the lease sale occurs will be available to meet the production objectives established by the strategies.

Requires the Secretary, within 12 months of enactment of this Act, to complete a programmatic environmental impact statement in accordance with certain NEPA requirements. Deems such statement sufficient to comply with all NEPA requirements for all necessary resource management and land use plans associated with implementation of the strategy.

Requires the Secretary to submit to: (1) the President and Congress, each proposed strategy, including comments received from affected states, federally recognized tribes, and local governments prior to publishing it; and (2) Congress the first Quadrennial Federal Onshore Energy Production Strategy within 18 months of enactment of this Act.

Subtitle C: National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska Access - National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act - (Sec. 23002) Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR) in Alaska remains explicitly designated to provide oil and natural gas resources to the United States, and (2) it is national policy to actively advance oil and gas development within the NPR.

(Sec. 23003) Amends the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976 to require that the mandatory program of competitive leasing of oil and gas in the NPR include at least one lease sale annually in those areas most likely to produce commercial quantities of oil and natural gas each year in the period 2014-2024.

(Sec. 23004) Directs the Secretary to ensure permits according to a specified time line for all surface development activities, including pipelines and roads construction, to: (1) develop and bring into production areas within the NPR that are subject to oil and gas leases, and (2) transport oil and gas from and through the NPR to existing transportation or processing infrastructure on the North Slope of Alaska.

Requires the Secretary to ensure that any federal permitting agency shall issue permits for construction for transportation of oil and natural gas under existing federal oil and gas leases with drilling permits within 60 days after enactment of this Act.

Requires approval of drilling permits under new federal oil and gas leases within six months after submission of a permit request to the Secretary.

Directs the Secretary to submit to Congress a plan for approved rights-of-way for any plan for pipeline, road, and other necessary surface infrastructure that will ensure that all leasable tracts in the NPR are within 25 miles of an approved road and pipeline right-of-way that can serve future development of the NPR.

(Sec. 23005) Directs the Secretary to issue: (1) a new proposed integrated activity plan from among the non-adopted alternatives in the NPR Alaska Integrated Activity Plan Record of Decision dated February 21, 2013, and (2) an environmental impact statement under NEPA for issuance of oil and gas leases in the NPR-Alaska to promote efficient and maximum development of oil and natural gas resources of such reserve.

Nullifies the February 21, 2013, Record of Decision, including its integrated activity plan and environmental impact statement.

(Sec. 23006) Directs the Secretary to issue regulations establishing clear requirements to ensure that the Department is supporting development of oil and gas leases in the NPR.

(Sec. 23007) Prescribes requirements for the new proposed integrated activity plan, including a departmental deadline for response to lease development permit applications and a timeline for processing each application.

(Sec. 23008) Requires the Secretary to assess all technically recoverable fossil fuel resources within the NPR, including all conventional and unconventional oil and natural gas.

Directs the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the state of Alaska and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, to implement and complete the resource assessment within 24 months after enactment of this Act.

Authorizes the USGS to use resources and funds provided by the state of Alaska in carrying out such assessment.

Subtitle D: BLM Live Internet Auctions - BLM Live Internet Auctions Act - (Sec. 24002) Amends the MLA to authorize the Secretary to conduct onshore oil and gas lease sales through Internet-based live bidding methods.

Requires each individual Internet-based lease sale to conclude within seven days.

Directs the Secretary to analyze the first ten such lease sales, including estimates of: (1) increases or decreases in such lease sales, compared to sales conducted by oral bidding; and (2) the total cost or savings to the Department as a result of such sales, compared to sales conducted by oral bidding.

Requires the report also to evaluate the demonstrated or expected effectiveness of different structures for lease sales which may provide an opportunity to better maximize bidder participation, ensure the highest return to the federal taxpayers, minimize opportunities for fraud or collusion, and ensure the security and integrity of the leasing process.

Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - (Sec. 30101) Directs the Secretary to: (1) establish an Office of Energy Employment and Training, under the direction of a Deputy Assistant Secretary, to oversee the hiring and training efforts of the Department relating to energy planning, permitting, and regulatory agencies; and (2) submit annual status reports to Congress regarding the hiring and diversity policies of the Department.