GILLETTE, Wyo. — Wyoming politicians and industry representatives have expressed support for a federal bill that’s supposed to lower energy costs.
H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, is supposed to achieve that goal by increasing American energy production, exports, infrastructure, and critical minerals processing; promoting transparency, accountability, permitting, and production of American resources; and improving water quality certification and energy projects.
Petroleum Association of Wyoming Vice President & Director of Communications Ryan McConnaughey said the act would unleash American energy production, lowering energy costs for American consumers and increasing national security in the process.
“Wyoming’s oil and natural gas industry is heavily dependent on federal lands development due to 70% of Wyoming’s minerals being owned by the federal government and therefore sees an outsized impact of regulations coming out of Washington DC,” he said. “Provisions within H.R. 1 including restoring regularity to leasing and permitting and modernizing NEPA would go a long way towards ensuring a vibrant, safe and sustainable industry here in Wyoming.”
Gov. Mark Gordon’s supportive of the resolution’s intent, his communications director, Michael Pearlman, said.
“In particular, he has been vocal in advocating for additional certainty when it comes to oil and gas leasing on federal land, and this bill attempts to address this issue,” Pearlman said.
Federal legislators have filed more than 140 amendments to the resolution. The Committee on Rules said March 23 it will meet at 1 p.m. March 27 regarding the resolution. As of 2:45 p.m. March 23, the resolution has 32 co-sponsors, who are all Republican.
Rep. Harriet Hageman has formally co-sponsored the resolution, but that information hasn’t been added to Congress.gov yet, her senior advisor/communications director, Chris Berardi, said March 23. He said staff expects that information will be updated within the next few days.
Hageman said in a news release March 14 that the Biden Administration’s “green new deal” agenda’s unrealistic and is making Americans choose between fueling their vehicles, turning on their heat, paying their electric bill, or buying food and medicine. The country needs accessible, affordable coal, oil and gas, and mineral supplies now and for generations to come, she said.
The Transparency, Access, Permitting and Production of American Resources Act and Hageman’s Combating Obstruction Against Leasing Act are part of the Lower Energy Costs Act, the release said. The Combating Obstruction Against Leasing Act would end a moratorium on new coal leasing and direct the Secretary of Interior to take action on pending coal leasing applications.
The Lower Energy Costs Act would prohibit a president from banning hydraulic fracturing, repeal all restrictions on the import and export of natural gas, repeal President Biden’s $6 billion natural gas tax that would increase energy bills for families, require the Department of the Interior to resume lease sales on federal lands and waters, reform the National Environmental Policy Act permitting process to streamline federal reviews, set deadlines for completion of NEPA reviews at one year for environmental assessments and two years for environmental impact statements, and impose a 120-day deadline on filing litigation on final agency actions concerning energy and mining projects, the release said.
Campbell County Board of Commissioners Chair Colleen Faber said she hasn’t read the entire bill but she fully supports efforts to bring energy independence to the U.S.
“Wyoming and Campbell County plays a key role in the nation’s energy independence and we are positioned to remain a leader in clean, efficient, affordable and reliable energy,” she said.
Campbell County’s Office of Economic Transformation Director of Diversification Rusty Bell said he isn’t as familiar with the resolution as he is with others, but he’ll look into it. He said he’s been very busy looking into local issues to address housing and local economic development, and the federal energy rules haven’t received as much of his time.
Campbell County Commissioner and Fort Union Industrial Park General Manager Jim Ford said he doesn’t have a position on the bill but he’ll look into it.