Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

112th Congress                                            Rept. 112-528
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
         STREAMLINING PERMITTING OF AMERICAN ENERGY ACT OF 2012

                                _______
                                

 June 15, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 4383]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4383) to streamline the application for permits 
to drill process and increase funds for energy project permit 
processing, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Streamlining Permitting of American 
Energy Act of 2012''.

SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.

        TITLE I--APPLICATION FOR PERMITS TO DRILL PROCESS REFORM

Sec. 101. Permit to drill application timeline.
Sec. 102. Solar and wind right-of-way rental reform.

         TITLE II--ADMINISTRATIVE PROTEST DOCUMENTATION REFORM

Sec. 201. Administrative protest documentation reform.

                     TITLE III--PERMIT STREAMLINING

Sec. 301. Improve Federal energy permit coordination.
Sec. 302. Administration of current law.
Sec. 303. Policies regarding buying, building, and working for America.

                       TITLE IV--JUDICIAL REVIEW

Sec. 401. Definitions.
Sec. 402. Exclusive venue for certain civil actions relating to covered 
energy projects.
Sec. 403. Timely filing.
Sec. 404. Expedition in hearing and determining the action.
Sec. 405. Standard of review.
Sec. 406. Limitation on injunction and prospective relief.
Sec. 407. Limitation on attorneys' fees.
Sec. 408. Legal standing.

        TITLE I--APPLICATION FOR PERMITS TO DRILL PROCESS REFORM

SEC. 101. PERMIT TO DRILL APPLICATION TIMELINE.

  Section 17(p)(2) of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 226(p)(2)) is 
amended to read as follows:
          ``(2) Applications for permits to drill reform and process.--
                  ``(A) Timeline.--The Secretary shall decide whether 
                to issue a permit to drill within 30 days after 
                receiving an application for the permit. The Secretary 
                may extend such period for up to 2 periods of 15 days 
                each, if the Secretary has given written notice of the 
                delay to the applicant. The notice shall be in the form 
                of a letter from the Secretary or a designee of the 
                Secretary, and shall include the names and titles of 
                the persons processing the application, the specific 
                reasons for the delay, and a specific date a final 
                decision on the application is expected.
                  ``(B) Notice of reasons for denial.--If the 
                application is denied, the Secretary shall provide the 
                applicant--
                          ``(i) in writing, clear and comprehensive 
                        reasons why the application was not accepted 
                        and detailed information concerning any 
                        deficiencies; and
                          ``(ii) an opportunity to remedy any 
                        deficiencies.
                  ``(C) Application deemed approved.--If the Secretary 
                has not made a decision on the application by the end 
                of the 60-day period beginning on the date the 
                application is received by the Secretary, the 
                application is deemed approved, except in cases in 
                which existing reviews under the National Environmental 
                Policy Act of 1969 or Endangered Species Act of 1973 
                are incomplete.
                  ``(D) Denial of permit.--If the Secretary decides not 
                to issue a permit to drill in accordance with 
                subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall--
                          ``(i) provide to the applicant a description 
                        of the reasons for the denial of the permit;
                          ``(ii) allow the applicant to resubmit an 
                        application for a permit to drill during the 
                        10-day period beginning on the date the 
                        applicant receives the description of the 
                        denial from the Secretary; and
                          ``(iii) issue or deny any resubmitted 
                        application not later than 10 days after the 
                        date the application is submitted to the 
                        Secretary.
                  ``(E) Fee.--
                          ``(i) In general.--Notwithstanding any other 
                        law, the Secretary shall collect a single 
                        $6,500 permit processing fee per application 
                        from each applicant at the time the final 
                        decision is made whether to issue a permit 
                        under subparagraph (A). This fee shall not 
                        apply to any resubmitted application.
                          ``(ii) Treatment of permit processing fee.--
                        Of all fees collected under this paragraph, 50 
                        percent shall be transferred to the field 
                        office where they are collected and used to 
                        process protests, leases, and permits under 
                        this Act subject to appropriation.''.

SEC. 102. SOLAR AND WIND RIGHT-OF-WAY RENTAL REFORM.

  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, each fiscal year, of fees 
collected as annual wind energy and solar energy right-of-way 
authorization fees required under section 504(g) of the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1764(g)), 50 percent shall 
be retained by the Secretary of the Interior to be used, subject to 
appropriation, by the Bureau of Land Management to process permits, 
right-of-way applications, and other activities necessary for renewable 
development, and, at the discretion of the Secretary, by the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service or other Federal agencies involved in wind and 
solar permitting reviews to facilitate the processing of wind energy 
and solar energy permit applications on Bureau of Land Management 
lands.

         TITLE II--ADMINISTRATIVE PROTEST DOCUMENTATION REFORM

SEC. 201. ADMINISTRATIVE PROTEST DOCUMENTATION REFORM.

  Section 17(p) of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 226(p)) is 
further amended by adding at the end the following:
          ``(4) Protest fee.--
                  ``(A) In general.--The Secretary shall collect a 
                $5,000 documentation fee to accompany each protest for 
                a lease, right of way, or application for permit to 
                drill.
                  ``(B) Treatment of fees.--Of all fees collected under 
                this paragraph, 50 percent shall remain in the field 
                office where they are collected and used to process 
                protests subject to appropriation.''.

                     TITLE III--PERMIT STREAMLINING

SEC. 301. IMPROVE FEDERAL ENERGY PERMIT COORDINATION.

  (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of the Interior (referred to in 
this section as the ``Secretary'') shall establish a Federal Permit 
Streamlining Project (referred to in this section as the ``Project'') 
in every Bureau of Land Management field office with responsibility for 
permitting energy projects on Federal land.
  (b) Memorandum of Understanding.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall enter into a 
        memorandum of understanding for purposes of this section with--
                  (A) the Secretary of Agriculture;
                  (B) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
                Agency; and
                  (C) the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers.
          (2) State participation.--The Secretary may request that the 
        Governor of any State with energy projects on Federal lands to 
        be a signatory to the memorandum of understanding.
  (c) Designation of Qualified Staff.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 30 days after the date of the 
        signing of the memorandum of understanding under subsection 
        (b), all Federal signatory parties shall, if appropriate, 
        assign to each of the Bureau of Land Management field offices 
        an employee who has expertise in the regulatory issues relating 
        to the office in which the employee is employed, including, as 
        applicable, particular expertise in--
                  (A) the consultations and the preparation of 
                biological opinions under section 7 of the Endangered 
                Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536);
                  (B) permits under section 404 of Federal Water 
                Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344);
                  (C) regulatory matters under the Clean Air Act (42 
                U.S.C. 7401 et seq.);
                  (D) planning under the National Forest Management Act 
                of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a et seq.); and
                  (E) the preparation of analyses under the National 
                Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
                seq.).
          (2) Duties.--Each employee assigned under paragraph (1) 
        shall--
                  (A) not later than 90 days after the date of 
                assignment, report to the Bureau of Land Management 
                Field Managers in the office to which the employee is 
                assigned;
                  (B) be responsible for all issues relating to the 
                energy projects that arise under the authorities of the 
                employee's home agency; and
                  (C) participate as part of the team of personnel 
                working on proposed energy projects, planning, and 
                environmental analyses on Federal lands.
  (d) Additional Personnel.--The Secretary shall assign to each Bureau 
of Land Management field office identified in subsection (a) any 
additional personnel that are necessary to ensure the effective 
approval and implementation of energy projects administered by the 
Bureau of Land Management 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 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).
  (e) Funding.--Funding for the additional personnel shall come from 
the Department of the Interior reforms identified in sections 101, 102, 
and 201.
  (f) Savings Provision.--Nothing in this section affects--
          (1) the operation of any Federal or State law; or
          (2) any delegation of authority made by the head of a Federal 
        agency whose employees are participating in the Project.
  (g) Definition.--For purposes of this section the term ``energy 
projects'' includes oil, natural gas, coal, and other energy projects 
as defined by the Secretary.

SEC. 302. ADMINISTRATION OF CURRENT LAW.

  Notwithstanding any other law, the Secretary of the Interior shall 
not require a finding of extraordinary circumstances in administering 
section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

SEC. 303. POLICIES REGARDING BUYING, BUILDING, AND WORKING FOR AMERICA.

  (a) Congressional Intent.--It is the intent of Congress that--
          (1) this Act will support a healthy and growing United States 
        domestic energy sector that, in turn, helps to reinvigorate 
        American manufacturing, transportation, and service sectors by 
        employing the vast talents of United States workers to assist 
        in the development of energy from domestic sources; and
          (2) Congress will monitor the deployment of personnel and 
        material onshore under this Act to encourage the development of 
        American technology and manufacturing to enable United States 
        workers to benefit from this Act through good jobs and careers, 
        as well as the establishment of important industrial facilities 
        to support expanded access to American energy resources.
  (b) Requirement.--The Secretary of the Interior shall, when possible 
and practicable, encourage the use of United States workers and 
equipment manufactured in the United States in all construction related 
to mineral resource development under this Act.

                       TITLE IV--JUDICIAL REVIEW

SEC. 401. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act--
          (1) the term ``covered civil action'' means a civil action 
        containing a claim under section 702 of title 5, United States 
        Code, regarding agency action (as defined for the purposes of 
        that section) affecting a covered energy project on Federal 
        lands of the United States; and
          (2) the term ``covered energy project'' means the leasing of 
        Federal lands of the United States for the exploration, 
        development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, 
        natural gas, wind, or any other source of energy, and any 
        action under such a lease, except that the term does not 
        include any disputes between the parties to a lease regarding 
        the obligations under such lease, including regarding any 
        alleged breach of the lease.

SEC. 402. EXCLUSIVE VENUE FOR CERTAIN CIVIL ACTIONS RELATING TO COVERED 
                    ENERGY PROJECTS.

  Venue for any covered civil action shall lie in the district court 
where the project or leases exist or are proposed.

SEC. 403. TIMELY FILING.

  To ensure timely redress by the courts, a covered civil action must 
be filed no later than the end of the 90-day period beginning on the 
date of the final Federal agency action to which it relates.

SEC. 404. EXPEDITION IN HEARING AND DETERMINING THE ACTION.

  The court shall endeavor to hear and determine any covered civil 
action as expeditiously as possible.

SEC. 405. STANDARD OF REVIEW.

  In any judicial review of a covered civil action, administrative 
findings and conclusions relating to the challenged Federal action or 
decision shall be presumed to be correct, and the presumption may be 
rebutted only by the preponderance of the evidence contained in the 
administrative record.

SEC. 406. LIMITATION ON INJUNCTION AND PROSPECTIVE RELIEF.

  In a covered civil action, 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 
legal requirement, and is the least intrusive means necessary to 
correct that violation. In addition, courts shall limit the duration of 
preliminary injunctions to halt covered energy projects to no more than 
60 days, unless the court finds clear reasons to extend the injunction. 
In such cases of extensions, such extensions shall only be in 30-day 
increments and shall require action by the court to renew the 
injunction.

SEC. 407. LIMITATION ON ATTORNEYS' FEES.

  Sections 504 of title 5, United States Code, and 2412 of title 28, 
United States Code, (together commonly called the Equal Access to 
Justice Act) do not apply to a covered civil action, nor shall any 
party in such a covered civil action receive payment from the Federal 
Government for their attorneys' fees, expenses, and other court costs.

SEC. 408. LEGAL STANDING.

  Challengers filing appeals with the Department of the Interior Board 
of Land Appeals shall meet the same standing requirements as 
challengers before a United States district court.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 4383, as ordered reported, is to 
streamline the application for permits to drill process and 
increase funds for energy project permit processing.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Since taking office, the Obama Administration has made 
energy and mineral development on federal lands so burdensome 
and undesirable that companies consistently seek out state and 
private lands for development rather than deal with the lengthy 
and uncertain federal regulatory process. The Administration 
has taken historically devastating steps to delay and halt 
production on federal lands--such as delaying the issuing of a 
permit by months or even years, removing swaths of land from 
previously announced lease sales and restricting areas 
prospective for future solar and wind energy development.
    Burdensome and duplicative environmental restrictions and 
legal challenges greatly stifle energy projects and job 
creation, sometimes for years. A recent SWCA Environmental 
Consultant report reviewed the economic impacts of all 
outstanding oil and natural gas projects proposed on federal 
lands in the West. SWCA determined that 44,329 wells were 
proposed in 22 NEPA documents currently under development. 
These wells, mostly located in Utah and Wyoming, would create 
over an estimated 120,000 jobs, $139 billion in government 
revenue, and $27.5 billion in economic activity. Many of these 
wells have been tied up in the environmental review process for 
over five years. The study concluded that if these wells were 
permitted to go forward by 2020, the West could produce as much 
oil and natural gas on a daily basis as the U.S. imports from 
Russia, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Algeria, 
Nigeria, and Colombia combined.
    Delays and energy permitting backlogs plague the Department 
of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service. Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) field offices suffer from lengthy permitting 
backlogs partially due to underfunding and understaffing. Since 
2008, the yearly Interior appropriations bill has levied a fee 
on oil and natural gas companies for submitting and processing 
Applications for Permit to Drill (APD). This fee has increased 
annually in the appropriations bill, and the current cost per 
APD is $6,500. The companies are then left waiting months, 
sometimes years to have their permit(s) approved. The federal 
government waiting times are significantly longer than state 
waiting times. The federal government often takes over 200 days 
to process a permit; the average state processing time is 45 
days. Companies pay the $6,500 APD fee upon submission 
regardless of how long it takes the application to be reviewed. 
This fee is entirely directed to the general treasury--the BLM 
field offices with the greatest APD workloads receive no 
additional funding to expedite the processing of permits.
    In addition to bureaucratic delays, energy projects--
whether conventional or renewable--are challenged at nearly 
every step of the development process by lengthy, burdensome 
lawsuits that can go so far as to completely halt the project's 
development. Most recently, an environmental group sued the 
U.S. Forest Service claiming that a proper Environmental Impact 
Statement was not completed under the National Environmental 
Policy Act and that a planned wind project in the Green 
Mountain National Forest would lead to a decrease in the bat 
population. Additionally, an environmental lawsuit was filed 
against the BLM, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
claiming that the 4,000 acre Calico Solar project in California 
would pose a threat to endangered species.
    Aside from halting energy production and job creation, 
these lawsuits are essentially funded by taxpayer dollars. 
Often, environmental groups are able to obtain reimbursement 
for all or part of their legal costs, while the companies and 
federal government must bear the cost of defending itself. 
Lawsuits can remain in the court system for years, which ties 
up companies' capital investments and ties up taxpayer dollars 
in the court system.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 4383 was introduced on April 18, 2012, by Congressman 
Doug Lamborn (R-CO). The bill was referred primarily to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. The bill was also 
referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On April 26, 2012, 
the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing 
on the bill. On May 16, 2012, the Full Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on Energy 
and Mineral Resources was discharged by unanimous consent. 
Congressman Lamborn offered amendment designated #1 to the 
bill; the amendment was adopted by voice vote. Congresswoman 
Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) offered amendment designated .004 to 
the bill; the amendment was not adopted by a bipartisan 
rollcall vote of 17 to 24, as follows:


                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    The title of the bill is the ``Streamlining Permitting for 
American Energy Act of 2012.''

Section 2. Table of contents

        Title I. Application for Permits to Drill Process Reform


Section 101. Permit to drill application timeline

    Section 101 requires the Secretary of the Interior to 
approve or deny an application for a permit to drill within no 
later than 60 days. If a decision is not made in 60 days, the 
application is deemed approved. The Secretary shall collect a 
single $6,500 permit processing fee per application at the time 
the decision is made. Half of the fee remains in the field 
office that process the permit.

Section 102. Solar and wind right-of-way rentals

    This section provides that half of solar and wind right-of-
way rental fees will remain with the Secretary of the Interior 
to direct to BLM field offices, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, or other federal agencies that review and process 
renewable energy projects on BLM land.

         Title II. Administrative Protest Documentation Reform


Section 201. Administrative protest documentation fee

    Section 201 provides that a $5,000 fee will be collected 
with each protest for a lease, right of way, or application for 
permit to drill. Half of the fee will remain in the field 
office that processes the protest.

                     Title III. Permit Streamlining


Section 301. Improve federal energy permit coordination

    Section 301 establishes a pilot project to staff BLM field 
offices with staff to specialize in the permitting process to 
expedite permitting decisions.

Section 302. Administration of current law

    This section provides that the Secretary of the Interior 
shall administer Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 
without requiring a finding of ``extraordinary circumstances.''

Section 303. Policies regarding buying, building, and working for 
        America

    Section 303 specifies that through this Act, Congress 
intends to support a healthy and growing energy sector that 
creates jobs for Americans. When possible, the Secretary of the 
Interior will encourage the use of United States workers and 
equipment.

                       Title IV. Judicial Review


Section 401. Definitions

    This section provides definitions for terms used in the 
bill.

Section 402. Exclusive venue for certain civil actions relating to 
        covered energy projects

    Section 402 provides that the district court where the 
challenged project or leases exists will be the venue for legal 
action.

Section 403. Timely filing

    This section specifies that a civil action must be filed no 
later than the end of a 90 day period after final agency 
action.

Section 404. Expedition in hearing and determining

    Section 404 provides that the court will endeavor to hear 
civil actions as expeditiously as possible.

Section 405. Standard of review

    This section provides that administrative findings and 
conclusions relating to Federal actions will be presumed 
correct, and provides a standard for rebuttal.

Section 406. Limitation on injunction and prospective relief

    Section 406 limits the duration of injunctions to halt 
energy projects to 60 days and limits prospective relief.

Section 407. Limitations on attorneys' fees

    This section limits attorneys' fees and expenses.

Section 408. Legal standing

    Section 408 provides that challengers filing with the 
Department of the Interior Board of Land Appeals shall meet the 
same requirements as challengers before a district court.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    Compliance with House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 4383--Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act of 2012

    Summary: H.R. 4383 would require the Secretary of the 
Interior to establish certain fees for activities related to 
the development of oil and gas on federal lands. Half of the 
amounts collected from those fees along with half of all 
receipts from renewable energy projects on federal lands would 
be available to the Secretary, subject to appropriation, to 
cover the costs of administering a program aimed at 
streamlining the approval process for energy projects. The bill 
also would exempt lawsuits that affect activities related to 
energy production on federal lands from the Equal Access to 
Justice Act (EAJA), which requires the federal government to 
pay attorneys' fees for plaintiffs that prevail in lawsuits 
against the United States.
    Based on information provided by the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 
and certain environmental groups, CBO estimates that enacting 
the legislation would increase offsetting receipts (a credit 
against direct spending) by $384 million over the 2013-2022 
period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. In addition, 
CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $156 
million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts. Enacting the bill would not affect 
revenues.
    H.R. 4383 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 4383 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                              --------------------------------------------------
                                                                2013    2014    2015    2016    2017   2013-2017
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDINGa
 
Application for Permit to Drill Fees
    Estimated Budget Authority...............................     -33     -36     -36     -36     -36       -176
    Estimated Outlays........................................     -33     -36     -36     -36     -36       -176
Protest Fees
    Estimated Budget Authority...............................      -3      -3      -3      -3      -3        -15
    Estimated Outlays........................................      -3      -3      -3      -3      -3        -15
    Total Changes
        Estimated Budget Authority...........................     -36     -39     -39     -39     -39       -191
        Estimated Outlays....................................     -36     -39     -39     -39     -39       -191
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Oil and Gas Administrative Costs
    Estimated Authorization Level............................      18      19      19      19      19         95
    Estimated Outlays........................................      17      19      19      19      19         94
Renewable Energy Administrative Costs
    Estimated Authorization Level............................       6       9      13      17      19         64
    Estimated Outlays........................................       6       9      12      16      19         62
    Total Changes
        Estimated Authorization Level........................      24      28      32      36      38        158
        Estimated Outlays....................................      23      28      32      36      38       156
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
aCBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase offsetting receipts by $39 million a year over the 2018-
  2022 period, for a total increase of $384 million over the 2013-2022 period.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted near the end of 2012 and that the 
necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year.
    Direct spending: CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4383 
would increase offsetting receipts by a total of $384 million 
over the 2013-2022 period.
    Application for permit to drill (APD) fees. Title I would 
require firms to pay a $6,500 fee each time they apply for a 
permit to drill on federal oil and gas leases. In 2011, when 
BLM was authorized to assess a similar fee, the agency 
processed roughly 5,000 permits and collected about $31 
million. Based on information provided by BLM, CBO expects that 
the agency will process 5,000 APDs in 2013 and an average of 
5,500 APDs each year over the 2014-2022 period. Thus, CBO 
estimates that enacting title I would increase offsetting 
receipts by $354 million over the 2013-2022 period.
    Protest fees. Title II would require any entity that files 
a protest (a formal objection to a BLM decision) against a 
lease, right of way, or APD, to pay a $5,000 fee. A protest may 
result in BLM reversing a decision or delaying the issuance of 
a decision. Under current law, any entity can file a protest 
without paying a fee. Based on information provided by BLM 
regarding the number of protests filed in each of the past five 
years, CBO expects that, under current law, about 1,200 
protests would be filed each year. We expect that the fee 
required under the bill would deter some and raise additional 
receipts. CBO estimates that enacting title II would increase 
offsetting receipts by $3 million a year over the 2013-2022 
period.
    Limitation on attorneys' fees. Title IV would exempt 
lawsuits that affect energy production on federal lands from 
EAJA. Based on information from GAO, CBO estimates that over 
the next 10 years, the U.S. Treasury will make payments 
totaling less than $50,000 a year on behalf of the Department 
of the Interior and the Forest Service as a result of such 
lawsuits. Thus, we estimate that enacting the bill would result 
in a small decrease in direct spending from lost attorneys' 
fees over the 2013-2022 period.
    Spending subject to appropriation: Title III would 
establish a Federal Permit Streamlining Project aimed at 
expediting the approval of new energy projects (including oil 
and gas drilling and renewable energy development) on federal 
lands. The bill would authorize the appropriation of 50 percent 
of all receipts generated under titles I and II of the bill and 
50 percent of gross receipts from renewable energy development 
on federal lands available to the Secretary to administer the 
project. Most of those funds would be used to hire additional 
employees to guide new energy projects through the federal 
approval process. In total, CBO estimates that implementing 
title III would cost $156 million over the 2013-2017 period, 
assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in direct spending that are subject 
to those pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following 
table.

    CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR H.R. 4383, THE STREAMLINING PERMITTING OF AMERICAN ENERGY ACT OF 2012, AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE HOUSE
                                                     COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES ON MAY 16, 2012
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                           -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2012    2013    2014    2015    2016    2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022   2012-2017  2012-2022
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               NET INCREASE IN THE DEFICIT
 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact............       0     -36     -39     -39     -39     -39     -39     -39     -39     -39     -39      -191       -384
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 4383 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Jeff LaFave; Impact on 
State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa Merrell; Impact 
on the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures. Based on information provided by 
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO), and certain environmental groups, 
CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would increase 
offsetting receipts (a credit against direct spending) by $384 
million over the 2013-2022 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply. In addition, CBO estimates that implementing 
the legislation would cost $156 million over the 2013-2017 
period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. 
Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to streamline 
the application for permits to drill process and increase funds 
for energy project permit processing.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                          MINERAL LEASING ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
  Sec. 17. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (p) Deadlines for Consideration of Applications for 
Permits.--
          (1) * * *
          [(2) Issuance or deferral.--Not later than 30 days 
        after the applicant for a permit has submitted a 
        complete application, the Secretary shall--
                  [(A) issue the permit, if the requirements 
                under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
                1969 and other applicable law have been 
                completed within such timeframe; or
                  [(B) defer the decision on the permit and 
                provide to the applicant a notice--
                          [(i) that specifies any steps that 
                        the applicant could take for the permit 
                        to be issued; and
                          [(ii) a list of actions that need to 
                        be taken by the agency to complete 
                        compliance with applicable law together 
                        with timelines and deadlines for 
                        completing such actions.]
          (2) Applications for permits to drill reform and 
        process.--
                  (A) Timeline.--The Secretary shall decide 
                whether to issue a permit to drill within 30 
                days after receiving an application for the 
                permit. The Secretary may extend such period 
                for up to 2 periods of 15 days each, if the 
                Secretary has given written notice of the delay 
                to the applicant. The notice shall be in the 
                form of a letter from the Secretary or a 
                designee of the Secretary, and shall include 
                the names and titles of the persons processing 
                the application, the specific reasons for the 
                delay, and a specific date a final decision on 
                the application is expected.
                  (B) Notice of reasons for denial.--If the 
                application is denied, the Secretary shall 
                provide the applicant--
                          (i) in writing, clear and 
                        comprehensive reasons why the 
                        application was not accepted and 
                        detailed information concerning any 
                        deficiencies; and
                          (ii) an opportunity to remedy any 
                        deficiencies.
                  (C) Application deemed approved.--If the 
                Secretary has not made a decision on the 
                application by the end of the 60-day period 
                beginning on the date the application is 
                received by the Secretary, the application is 
                deemed approved, except in cases in which 
                existing reviews under the National 
                Environmental Policy Act of 1969 or Endangered 
                Species Act of 1973 are incomplete.
                  (D) Denial of permit.--If the Secretary 
                decides not to issue a permit to drill in 
                accordance with subparagraph (A), the Secretary 
                shall--
                          (i) provide to the applicant a 
                        description of the reasons for the 
                        denial of the permit;
                          (ii) allow the applicant to resubmit 
                        an application for a permit to drill 
                        during the 10-day period beginning on 
                        the date the applicant receives the 
                        description of the denial from the 
                        Secretary; and
                          (iii) issue or deny any resubmitted 
                        application not later than 10 days 
                        after the date the application is 
                        submitted to the Secretary.
                  (E) Fee.--
                          (i) In general.--Notwithstanding any 
                        other law, the Secretary shall collect 
                        a single $6,500 permit processing fee 
                        per application from each applicant at 
                        the time the final decision is made 
                        whether to issue a permit under 
                        subparagraph (A). This fee shall not 
                        apply to any resubmitted application.
                          (ii) Treatment of permit processing 
                        fee.--Of all fees collected under this 
                        paragraph, 50 percent shall be 
                        transferred to the field office where 
                        they are collected and used to process 
                        protests, leases, and permits under 
                        this Act subject to appropriation.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (4) Protest fee.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary shall collect 
                a $5,000 documentation fee to accompany each 
                protest for a lease, right of way, or 
                application for permit to drill.
                  (B) Treatment of fees.--Of all fees collected 
                under this paragraph, 50 percent shall remain 
                in the field office where they are collected 
                and used to process protests subject to 
                appropriation.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We oppose H.R. 4383 because it would unnecessarily tie the 
hands of the Interior Department in reviewing drilling 
operations on public lands and make drilling less safe. This 
legislation would impose arbitrary deadlines on the Interior 
Department's review of applications for permits to drill 
onshore. Just as the Majority tried to do for offshore 
drilling, drilling permits would be automatically ``deemed 
approved'' after 60 days if the Interior Department had not 
finished its review.
    While the Majority has acknowledged the important role that 
NEPA and the Endangered Species Act play in properly reviewing 
drilling permits and has now included language to prevent 
permits from being deemed approved after 60 days in cases where 
reviews under those laws are ongoing, there is no requirement 
in the bill that would prevent permits from being deemed 
approved if safety reviews were incomplete. This provision is 
especially dangerous given that a Natural Resources Democratic 
staff review of drilling safety violations on public lands 
found that between 1998 and 2011, one-fifth of the drilling 
violations on public lands were related to blowout preventers 
or other well control equipment. Furthermore, there were more 
than 50 instances where an operator began drilling on federal 
lands without an approved permit to drill from the BLM. We 
should be seeking to ensure that oil companies are drilling on 
our public lands with the highest level of safety, not 
truncating the review of drilling applications.
    The BLM submitted testimony stating that H.R. 4383 ``would 
essentially strip from the BLM its ability to issue 
[applications for permits to drill] on important reviews and 
clearances--including cultural surveys and necessary tribal 
consultation.'' We oppose rushing to limit proper review of 
drilling permits, especially when oil companies are warehousing 
roughly 6,700 drilling permits that have already been approved 
by the Interior Department where they could be drilling 
immediately. In addition, oil production on federal lands 
onshore is higher that it was under the Bush Administration, 
according to an EIA review of production going back to 2003.
    H.R. 4383 also includes a likely unconstitutional provision 
requiring any American citizen seeking to protest an oil and 
gas lease, drilling permit or right of way to post a 
nonrefundable $5,000 ``documentation fee.'' This is a blatant 
attempt to deny ordinary American citizens the ability to 
contest decisions by the federal government. This section would 
seek to prevent people from contesting oil and gas development 
in areas where it may harm hunting, fishing, recreation or the 
other uses of our public lands.
    The legislation also contains provisions designed to close 
the doors of the courthouse to citizens who believe the federal 
government is not complying with the law. While these 
provisions are no doubt aimed at environmental plaintiffs they 
would almost certainly impair the legal rights of many other 
potential plaintiffs, including oil and gas companies.
    The Majority rejected an amendment from Representative 
Hanabusa (D-HI) that sought to maximize the development of 
renewable energy on public lands to achieve a goal of 25 
percent of the electricity consumed by the federal government 
coming from renewable sources by the year 2025. The Majority 
also voted down an amendment from Representative Hanabusa that 
would have ensured that the bill's requirement that citizens 
post a nonrefundable, $5,000 ``documentation fee'' would not 
abridge the right of the people to petition for the redress of 
grievances afforded by the First amendment to the Constitution. 
Finally, the Majority rejected an amendment from Energy and 
Mineral Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member Holt (D-NJ) that 
would have struck the language from the H.R. 4383 that would 
require drilling permits to be deemed approved after 60 days, 
which could make public lands less safe.
    H.R. 4383 takes an approach that is neither warranted nor 
wise. We should not be seeking to limit public involvement and 
proper review of drilling permits, as the legislation would do, 
when oil production from public lands onshore has increased 
under the Obama Administration and the oil industry is sitting 
on thousands of approved permits to drill.
                                   Edward J. Markey.
                                   Rush Holt.
                                   Paul Tonko.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Madeleine Z. Bordallo.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva.
                                   Ben R. Lujan.