Hoeven: New Interior Appropriations Bill Supports Domestic Energy Development with Good Environmental Stewardship

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said the new appropriations bill for the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports domestic energy development with good environmental stewardship. DOI is responsible for the management of federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans.

“We’ve included regulatory relief in the Interior-EPA Appropriations measure that will help us produce more energy, more cost-effectively, and also with good environmental stewardship,” Hoeven said. “For example, states have taken a lead role in hydraulic fracturing and the EPA has come out and said clearly that groundwater is being protected. Another example is expediting the building of gas gathering systems that can not only produce more energy by capturing more of the natural gas we’re producing, but also reduce flaring, which is an environmental win as well.”

Department of Interior

  • Fracking Rule: Takes a “states first” approach to the regulation of hydraulic fracturing” which Hoeven has long advocated for. The bill gives primacy to the states, rather than BLM, to regulate hydraulic fracturing. Hoeven is also sponsoring standalone legislation, the Empower States Act, to give states primacy over hydraulic fracturing.
  • Stream Buffer Zone: Directs the Office of Surface Mining to work with states to ensure water quality is protected while not adversely impacting jobs and the economy. Separately, Hoeven is working on legislation with Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) aimed at preventing the agency from changing the stream buffer rule, which could result in the loss of thousands of jobs in 22 states.
  • Streamline BLM Permitting: Directs the BLM to work with states to explore options to streamline the permitting process in certain instances on federal land. Those instances include places where federal subsurface minerals account for less than half of the unit of land being developed or in instances when the federal government does not own or lease the surface rights within the unit.
  • Rights-of-way approvals on Tribal Land: Helps to reduce flaring and capture more natural gas on reservations. The bill presses BLM to advance reservation-wide fair market appraisals to provide fair market values for future rights-of-way applications on energy-affected tribal lands. Current market appraisals would reflect the true value of the property, attract investment and increase the amount of revenue collected from royalties for both the tribe and allotted landowners.

Environmental Protection Agency

  • Clean Power Plan: The legislation also includes provisions that prevent the EPA from imposing regulations which would shut down power plants and impose significant costs on families and small businesses across America.