DOI report outlines burdens to U.S. energy development

By Patrick C. Miller | October 27, 2017

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) this week released a report identifying federal agency actions that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources.

The "Review of the Department of the Interior Actions that Potentially Burden Domestic Energy” focuses on oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy resources. DOI oversees oil, gas, coal, hydropower and renewable energy resources produced on federal lands and waters. According to the agency, these account for almost one-fifth of U.S. energy and generate on average $10 billion per year in annual revenue. 

The report identified a number of burdens that specifically impede the production and transportation of energy resources. These include the Obama administration’s five-year energy plan, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) fracking rule on federal and tribal land, the BLM venting and flaring rule and systematic delays in the leasing program and permitting process.

“Our public lands are meant to be managed for the benefit of the people,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “That means a multiple-use approach where appropriate and making sure that multiple-use includes energy development under reasonable regulations. Following President Trump’s leadership, Interior is fostering domestic energy production by streamlining permitting and revising and repealing Obama-era job killing regulations—all while doing so in an environmentally responsible way.”

Also detailed in DOI’s report are actions taken to advance the Trump administration’s goal of American energy dominance. These measures include three secretarial orders, reestablishment of the Royalty Policy Committee and reviewing, repealing and rewriting rules in four federal agencies under DOI.

“The federal government can and must be a better business partner,” said Vincent DeVito, counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy. “Regulations should not unnecessarily burden energy production, but that is what occurs in many cases. The recent actions outlined in this energy report show how Interior is rolling back some of these burdensome regulations that add little or no value, while promoting responsible energy development.”

In concert with the report’s release Zinke signed an order establishing an executive committee for expedited permitting as part of Trump’s executive order to promote energy independence and economic growth.

The committee will work to coordinate and streamline the energy permitting policies of the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and other federal agencies under DOI.

“Developing our energy resources to grow our economy and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive,” Zinke said. “However, while conducting the review outlined in the executive order, we found that several costly and burdensome regulations from the past threaten that balance by hampering the production or transmission of our domestic energy.”