Local Viewpoints
12:06 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Pearce Supports Energy Legislation

This week, U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce voted with Republicans and Democrats on three key energy bills: HR 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act; HR 2728, the Protecting States Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act; and HR 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. All three bills are a part of the House’s strategy to responsibly develop our domestic resources in a responsible manner.

“These three bills will play a key role in improving American energy security through safe, time-tested means,” said Pearce.  “Hydraulic fracturing is a safe, proven method for energy development.  These bills will expedite the process for application approvals after environmental reviews, and will deliver a shot in the arm to an already growing energy sector that supports over 100,000 good-paying jobs in New Mexico.  Our livelihoods are dependent on these industries and the royalty and tax payments that they bring into our coffers keep our schools open. It is vital that the Senate act on these bipartisan bills.”

HR 1965 requires the Department of the Interior to approve or deny an application to drill on federal lands within 30 days. If the Secretary has not made a decision on the application by the end of the 60 day period, the application is approved unless environmental reviews are incomplete. 

HR 2728 ensures that the main point of regulation for hydraulic fracturing remains primarily at the state level, in addition to the 8 federal environmental laws that currently regulate it. Our states successfully regulated this technology for over 60 years. President Obama’s own Secretary of the Interior stated clearly this year that hydraulic fracturing “has been done safely for decades.” Former BLM Director Bob Abbey and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson have made similar comments.

HR 1900 imposes deadlines federal agencies reviewing natural gas pipeline applications, which serves to expedite the review process.  The bill amends the Natural Gas Act to require that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approve or deny a pipeline certificate within 12 months of receiving the completed application, but only if the project is part of FERC’s pre-filing process.