Inhofe Reintroduces Federal Land Freedom Act and FRESH Act

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today reintroduced S. 335, the Federal Land Freedom Act, and S. 334, the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act.

 The United States is capable of reaching domestic energy independence; in fact, since 2008 we’ve increased our domestic oil production by 80 percent. This increase, however, has all occurred on private and state land. It’s imperative we work to end the war on fossil fuel in order to achieve energy independence,” Inhofe said. “One of the best ways to do this is to simply hand power over to the states, which is why I’ve reintroduced he Federal Land Freedom Act. This bill gives our states the ability to aggressively and responsibly develop the federal energy estate. Energy independence is not the only positive result we’d see from this legislation; the Institute for Energy Research issued a report stating that opening federal land resources would generate $14.4 trillion in economic activity, create 2.5 million jobs and reduce the federal deficit by $2.7 trillion. I have reason to believe the benefits could be even greater and look forward to moving this legislation through the Senate.”

 Inhofe continued, “In the same vein, I’ve also introduced the FRESH Act, which gives states complete authority to regulate fracking on any land within their borders. States have regulated the hydraulic fracturing process with great expertise since the first job was done in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1948. In fact, since then over 1 million wells have been fracked, but there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination caused by the process. States are doing a great job, and we should keep them in the driver’s seat, which is why the FRESH Act should be enacted.”

 Background:

S. 335, the Federal Land Freedom Act —co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

  • Gives each state the right to develop all of the energy resources on the federal lands located within that state’s borders. Federal lands that will not apply: Indian lands, national parks, units of the National Wildlife Refuge System and Congressionally designated wilderness areas.
  • The bill allows a state to develop a regulatory program governing the leasing and permitting of energy activities on its federal land. Upon submission of this program to the Department of Interior, the program would be approved. Under no circumstances would the program not be approved; if it is not approved after 30 days, it will be deemed approved.
  • None of the actions taken by a state to lease or permit lands would be subject to judicial review. Further, the act will exempt the activities under the “program” from the requirements of NEPA, ESA and National Historic Preservation Act. It will also not be subject to the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • The bill retains the current royalty share between states and the federal government under the Mineral Leasing Act (essentially 50–50); it does, however, reverse the flow of cash.  Operators will now pay royalties to states, which will then send the federal government’s share to the treasury.

 S. 334, the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act—co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)

  • The bill states explicitly a state is the only authorized entity to regulate hydraulic fracturing on any land located within its borders. This takes the federal nexus away.
  • The exclusivity of regulation also applies to all federal lands located in the state.
  • This bill is a reintroduction of last Congress’ S.828, which had 28 cosponsors.
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives to the Senate version of the FRESH Act