H.R. 2231: Force Offshore Drilling Act

OCS

H.R. 2231: Offshore Energy and Jobs Act passed the House of Representatives on June 28, 2013. It would force the Federal government to sell leases off the shores of Virgina, South Carolina, California, Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico. It will never be signed into law.

*For all the details on this bill, listen to Congressional Dish episode CD034: Let’s Drill Offshore*

Bill Highlights

TITLE 1: Adds to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act:

Section 101

  • Forces the Federal government to lease at least 50% of the unleased area in the outer Continental Shelf with most estimated untapped oil and gas reserves as determined by this document

untapped regions

Section 102: New offshore drilling goals by 2032

  • Increase oil production by 3,000,000 barrels per day
  • Increase natural gas production by 10,000,000,000 cubic feat of gas per day

TITLE II: Force A Lease Sale Off Virginia’s Coast

Section 201

(a) The Secretary of Interior must approve Lease Sale 220, which was cancelled by the Obama Administration after the Deepwater Horizon spill, within one year.

The yellow area is Lease 220

The yellow area is Lease 220 (Source: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

(b) If the military stops some blocks from being leased because it interferes with defense-related activities, the Secretary of Interior must allow the oil companies to lease an equal number of other blocks.

Section 202: Forces lease sales off of South Carolina

  • Secretary of Interior must approve leases for at least 25% of the most “geologically promising” area off of South Carolina’s coast.

Section 203: Forces lease sales off of Southern California

  • Secretary of Interior must allow lease sales off of the coast of Santa Maria and Santa Barbara by December 31, 2014.
  • Secretary of Interior is allowed to restrict the new drilling to areas that already have drilling infrastructure.

This is why Santa Barbara & the State of California keeps fighting offshore drilling

Section 204: Environmental Impact studies

  • Must be conducted by the Secretary of Interior
  • The studies do not have to include alternatives that involve not leasing at all
  • The studies can only offer one alternative leasing proposal

Section 204: Exploration and drilling can’t interfere with the military

TITLE III: Less Oil Money for Federal Government, More Money to States

Section 301

  • Coastal states will receive 37.5% (instead of the current 12.5% or 25%) of new leasing revenues
  • This will not apply to the new leases off of Virginia, South Carolina, or California that are forced upon those states and their neighbors by this bill.

TITLE IV: Reorganize the Department of the Interior

Section 401

  • Create an Under Secretary for Energy, Lands, and Minerals position
  • Create an Assistant Secretary of Ocean Energy and Safety position
  • Create an Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management position

Section 402: Create a Bureau of Ocean Energy

Section 403: Create an Ocean Energy Safety Service

  • Employees will be prohibited from striking

Section 404: Create an Office of Natural Resources Revenue

Section 405: Employees of the Department of Interior involved with energy programs will be subject to random drug testing

Section 406: Abolishes the Minerals Management Service

TITLE VII: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS (ADDED BY AMENDMENTS)

Section 701: Any lawsuits against these offshore energy decisions must be filed within 60 days or they will not be allowed.

Section 702: Cases related to offshore drilling decisions must take precedence over all other cases pending before the district court.

Section 705: The person or group filing the lawsuit must pay the legal fees of all the parties in the lawsuit if they lose the case.

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