‘The energy industry…has been severely burdened by lengthy and often frivolous protests…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Federal law lets environmental activists protest nearly every step in the energy production process for free.
Activists can submit protests to the Bureau of Land Management to prevent “oil and gas lease sales, applications for permit to drill, and right of way applications for oil and gas operations on federal land,” according to Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming.
“The energy industry, the lifeblood of our economy in Wyoming, has been severely burdened by lengthy and often frivolous protests on energy projects,” Cheney said.
Activists protested 88 percent of all parcels sold in 2017.
The BLM has 60 days to issue a lease after the date of sale, but protests can slow the process.
Protests vary in length, but Cheney said some “can be thousands of pages.”
In response, she introduced in the House of the Representatives the Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act.
The bill will impose a small filing free to submit protests with the BLM.
Protests under ten pages long will cost $150 and each added page will cost an additional $5.
“Last year in Wyoming, over 80% of oil and gas lease sales were protested, but the DOI only removed four leases of land and that was due to procedural reasons, not environmental factors,” Cheney said. “My bill levels the playing field by charging a nominal fee for protests of oil and gas lease sales, applications for permit to drill, and right of way applications.”
In May, the Wild Earth Guardians and the Montana Environmental Information Center filed a protest to block the sale of 150,000 acres for oil and gas drilling, citing “potential groundwater contamination and climate change,” according to KPAX.
“These lease sales are a direct threat to Montana’s future,” said Becca Fischer, a Wild Earth Guardians spokeswoman.“The BLM’s environmental analysis for the March lease sale completely fails to quantify of the very real, direct greenhouse gas emissions that will result from allowing these areas to be drilled and fracked and both analyses fail to quantify cumulative impacts from greenhouse gases.”