Summary: S.2524 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.2524. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (04/02/1980)

Title I: Short Title, Policy, and Purposes - Entitles this Act as the "Western Arctic Area Management and Leasing Act."

Declares that it is the policy of the United States that the development of the oil and gas resources within the Western Arctic Management Area is in the national interest and should be accomplished in an orderly manner while assuring the conservation of surface resources.

Title II: Establishment and Planning of the Area - Establishes the area currently designated as the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska as the Western Arctic Management Area (area). Directs the Secretary of the Interior to administer the area through the Bureau of Land Management in accordance with provisions of this Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, with specified exceptions.

Authorizes the Secretary, with 16 months after enactment of this Act, to withdraw from entry and disposition under the public land laws any lands within the area which may be necessary for the management of the area. Revokes, after such 16-month period, any withdrawals or reservations made pursuant to the Naval Petroleum Reserves Product Act of 1976 with respect to such area.

Directs the Secretary to prepare a long-range plan for the multiple use management of the area. Requires such plan to provide for: (1) a leasing program for the efficient exploration for and development of gas and oil; (2) the protection of surface resources, especially within certain special management areas; and (3) the protection of opportunities for the continued subsistence use of the area. Directs the Secretary in developing the plan: (1) to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service; and (2) to provide for participation by the State of Alaska and affected local governments, Federal agencies, organizations, and individuals.

Permits the long-range plan to be accomplished in stages. Requires an initial plan to be completed within 16 months after enactment of this Act. Declares that the first lease sale under the oil and gas leasing program included in the initial plan shall be conducted within 20 months after this Act if enacted.

Directs the Secretary: (1) to review the long-range plan within five years after the initial plan is published and every ten years therafter; (2) during the initial review, to determine whether any lands within special management areas should be established as one or more units within the National Refuge System; and (3) upon determining that such a unit should be established to submit a legislative proposal to that effect to Congress.

Title III: Lease Exploration Permits and Leasing Authority - Authorizes the Secretary: (1) to conduct or to allow by contract or permit the conduct, of geophysical and geological explorations in the area in accordance with specified provisions of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976; and (2) to grant, oil and gas leases within the area only to the highest qualified bidder by competitive bidding. Sets forth guidelines for conducting the bidding.

Directs the Secretary to establish lease tracts not exceeding 60,000 acres each. Declares that each lease shall be issued for an initial period of up to ten years, and extended for so long as oil or gas is produced from the area in paying quantities.

Requires the Secretary to prescribe a rule prohibiting any person who represents both a major oil company, or more than one company or affiliate, from bidding for any right to develop oil or gas in the area. Specifies conditions under which the Secretary may exempt such a person from such prohibition.

Directs the Secretary to establish restrictions on leases and operating permits to enhance safety, encourage efficient management, protect the environment, and conserve the area's natural resources.

Authorizes the Secretary to require that any royalty taken in amount of production be made available to small or independent refiners.

Directs the Secretary, before accepting bids for a lease or issuing a lease, to allow the Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, 30 days to review the potential results including antitrust effects of the lease. Prohibits the sale or transfer of a lease without the Secretary's approval.

Requires the holder of a lease to submit an exploration or development plan to the Secretary for approval before commencing exploration or development activities.

Specifies; (1) conditions under which the Secretary may suspend or cancel a lease, and (2) the compensation available to a lesser whose lease is cancelled.

Requires any lessee or individual permitted to conduct an activity pursuant to this title to provide the Secretary access to any information obtained from such activity. Directs the Secretary to prescribe rules for the protection and release of any privileged information.

Requires a lessee to cooperate with Federal officers responsible for monitoring and examining the lessee's activities under this title. Sets forth the enforcement procedure for, and the penalties for violations of, provisions of this Act, regulations issued pursuant to this Act, and the terms of any lease or permit issued under this title.

Authorizes the Secretary to issue exploration permits and leases for the development of minerals other than oil and gas in the area in accordance with the policy of this Act.

Title IV: Other Administrative Provisions - Directs the Secretary to prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out this Act.

Permits any existing facilities used for subsistence purposes to remain and be maintained or replaced subject to any restrictions the Secretary may impose. Authorizes the Secretary to permit the construction of new facilities for purposes of subsistence, public health, and area use and management.

Requires the United States to pay specified amounts of the revenue generated by this Act to: (1) the Alaska Native Fund; (2) the Department of the Treasury; and (3) the state of Alaska for public service purposes.

Directs the Secretary: (1) to continue operation of the South Barrow oil field and such other fields as may be necessary to supply gas to the Native Village of Barrow and other communities and installations near Point Barrow, Alaska; and (2) within one year after enactment of this Act, to submit to Congress a plan for an entity or local government unit of the State of Alaska to assume ownership and operation of the fields and ancillary facilities.

Requires the Secretary to establish a Western Arctic National Conservation Area Advisory Committee to advise the Secretary concerning the long-range plan for the multiple use management of the area and the promulgation of regulations to implement this Act.