House Energy Bill

As lawmakers in the U.S. House get ready to leave town for a break that will take them into mid-September, Democrats hope to approve an energy bill drawn up in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The 238 page plan though deals with much more than that, as I detailed yesterday the inclusion of a "Conservation Fee" that would levy a $2 surcharge on every barrel of oil extracted from onshore and offshore federal lands.

So, what else is in this bill?

One thing that is not involved is anything dealing with climate change or global warming.  I had a number of people ask about that, so I thought I would make that clear.

The first focus of this plan is to create a new setup at the Department of Interior, with the goal being better oversight of companies drilling for oil and natural gas, both onshore and offshore.

The bill would get rid of the Minerals Management Service, and basically split it into three different agencies that would deal with different facets of the oil and gas industry.

You would have the Bureau of Energy and Resource Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

Some have complained that the answer focuses too much on new bureaucracy.

There are also ethics changes written into the bill to insure that federal employees aren't taking too much in the way of gifts from the natural resources industry.

The measure also would set up a restoration effort for the Gulf of Mexico, to deal with the aftermath of the oil spill.

The plan would raise money from the oil and gas fee described above, and from the repeal of favorable royalty provisions that were accidentally included in the 2005 energy bill, which allowed the industry to avoid billions in normal payments to the U.S. Government.

One other interesting item is a plan that extends the life of the "Land and Water and Historic Preservation Funds," giving them a yearly appropriation of $900 million.

On page 128, the bill requires that $150 million of the money brought in each year from offshore drilling royalty and leasing payments be used for these funds.

Here is the table of contents for the bill, which is officially an amendment to H.R. 3534, offered by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV).

Sec. 101. Bureau of Energy and Resource Management.
Sec. 102. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Sec. 103. Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
Sec. 104. Ethics.
Sec. 105. References.
Sec. 106. Abolishment of Minerals Management Service.
Sec. 107. Conforming amendment.
Sec. 108. Outer Continental Shelf Safety and Environmental Advisory Board.

Subtitle A--Safety, Environmental, and Financial Reform of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
Sec. 201. Short title.
Sec. 202. Definitions.
Sec. 203. National policy for the Outer Continental Shelf.
Sec. 204. Jurisdiction of laws on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Sec. 205. Outer Continental Shelf leasing standard.
Sec. 206. Leases, easements, and rights-of-way.
Sec. 207. Disposition of revenues.
Sec. 208. Exploration plans.
Sec. 209. Outer Continental Shelf leasing program.
Sec. 210. Environmental studies.
Sec. 211. Safety regulations.
Sec. 212. Enforcement of safety and environmental regulations.
Sec. 213. Judicial review.
Sec. 214. Remedies and penalties.
Sec. 215. Uniform planning for Outer Continental Shelf.
Sec. 216. Oil and gas information program.
Sec. 217. Limitation on royalty-in-kind program.
Sec. 218. Restrictions on employment.
Sec. 219. Repeal of royalty relief provisions.
Sec. 220. Manning and buy- and build-American requirements.
Sec. 221. National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.
Sec. 222. Coordination and consultation with affected State and local governments.
Sec. 223. Implementation.
Subtitle B--Royalty Relief for American Consumers
Sec. 241. Short title.
Sec. 242. Eligibility for new leases and the transfer of leases.
Sec. 243. Price thresholds for royalty suspension provisions.

Sec. 301. Amendments to definitions.
Sec. 302. Compliance reviews.
Sec. 303. Clarification of liability for royalty payments.
Sec. 304. Required recordkeeping.
Sec. 305. Fines and penalties.
Sec. 306. Interest on overpayments.
Sec. 307. Adjustments and refunds.
Sec. 308. Conforming amendment.
Sec. 309. Obligation period.
Sec. 310. Notice regarding tolling agreements and subpoenas.
Sec. 311. Appeals and final agency action.
Sec. 312. Assessments.
Sec. 313. Collection and production accountability.
Sec. 314. Natural gas reporting.
Sec. 315. Penalty for late or incorrect reporting of data.
Sec. 316. Required recordkeeping.
Sec. 317. Shared civil penalties.
Sec. 318. Applicability to other minerals.
Sec. 319. Entitlements.
Sec. 320. Limitation on royalty in-kind program.

Subtitle A--Land and Water Conservation Fund
Sec. 401. Amendments to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.
Sec. 402. Extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Sec. 403. Permanent funding.
Subtitle B--National Historic Preservation Fund
Sec. 411. Permanent funding.

Sec. 501. Gulf of Mexico restoration program.
Sec. 502. Gulf of Mexico long-term environmental monitoring and research program.
Sec. 503. Gulf of Mexico emergency migratory species alternative habitat program.

Sec. 601. Regional coordination.
Sec. 602. Regional Coordination Councils.
Sec. 603. Regional strategic plans.
Sec. 604. Regulations and savings clause.
Sec. 605. Ocean Resources Conservation and Assistance Fund.
Sec. 606. Waiver.

Sec. 701. Short title.
Sec. 702. Repeal of and adjustments to limitation on liability.
Sec. 703. Evidence of financial responsibility for offshore facilities.
Sec. 704. Damages to human health.
Sec. 705. Clarification of liability for discharges from mobile offshore drilling units.
Sec. 706. Standard of review for damage assessment.
Sec. 707. Information on claims.
Sec. 708. Additional amendments and clarifications to Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Sec. 709. Americanization of offshore operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
Sec. 710. Safety management systems for mobile offshore drilling units.
Sec. 711. Safety standards for mobile offshore drilling units.
Sec. 712. Operational control of mobile offshore drilling units.
Sec. 713. Single-hull tankers.
Sec. 714. Repeal of response plan waiver.
Sec. 715. National Contingency Plan.
Sec. 716. Tracking Database.
Sec. 717. Evaluation and approval of response plans; maximum penalties.
Sec. 718. Oil and hazardous substance cleanup technologies.
Sec. 719. Implementation of oil spill prevention and response authorities.
Sec. 720. Impacts to Indian Tribes and public service damages.
Sec. 721. Federal enforcement actions.
Sec. 722. Time required before electing to proceed with judicial claim or against the Fund.
Sec. 723. Authorized level of Coast Guard personnel.
Sec. 724. Clarification of memorandums of understanding.
Sec. 725. Build America requirement for offshore facilities.
Sec. 726. Oil spill response vessel database.
Sec. 727. Offshore sensing and monitoring systems.
Sec. 728. Oil and gas exploration and production.
Sec. 729. Leave retention authority.
Sec. 730. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 801. Repeal of certain taxpayer subsidized royalty relief for the oil and gas industry.
Sec. 802. Conservation fee.
Sec. 803. Leasing on Indian lands.
Sec. 804. Outer Continental Shelf State boundaries.
Sec. 805. Liability for damages to national wildlife refuges.
Sec. 806. Strengthening coastal State oil spill planning and response.
Sec. 807. Information sharing.
Sec. 808. Limitation on use of funds.
Sec. 809. Environmental review.
Sec. 810. Federal response to State proposals to protect State lands and waters.

As lawmakers in the U.S. House get ready to leave town for a break that will take them into mid-September, Democrats hope to approve an energy bill drawn up in the wake of the BP oil spill. The 238 page plan though deals with much more than that, as I ...

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