H.R. 1229 (112th): Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of May 16, 2011 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

Calendar No. 50

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1229

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 12, 2011

Received; read the first time

May 16, 2011

Read the second time and placed on the calendar

AN ACT

To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to facilitate the safe and timely production of American energy resources from the Gulf of Mexico, to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct certain offshore oil and gas lease sales, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act.

I

Amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

101.

Amendment to Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

(a)

Amendment

Section 11(d) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1340(d)) is amended to read as follows:

(d)

Drilling Permits

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall by regulation require that any lessee operating under an approved exploration plan—

(A)

must obtain a permit before drilling any well in accordance with such plan; and

(B)

must obtain a new permit before drilling any well of a design that is significantly different than the design for which an existing permit was issued.

(2)

Safety review required

The Secretary shall not issue a permit under paragraph (1) without ensuring that the proposed drilling operations meet all—

(A)

critical safety system requirements, including blowout prevention; and

(B)

oil spill response and containment requirements.

(3)

Timeline

(A)

The Secretary shall decide whether to issue a permit under paragraph (1) within 30 days after receiving an application for the permit. The Secretary may extend such period for up to two periods of 15 days each, if the Secretary has given written notice of the delay to the applicant. The notice shall be in the form of a letter from the Secretary or a designee of the Secretary, and shall include the names and titles of the persons processing the application, the specific reasons for the delay, and a specific date a final decision on the application is expected.

(B)

If the application is denied, the Secretary shall provide the applicant—

(i)

in writing, clear and comprehensive reasons why the application was not accepted and detailed information concerning any deficiencies, and

(ii)

an opportunity to remedy any deficiencies.

(C)

If the Secretary has not made a decision on the application by the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date the application is received by the Secretary, the application is deemed approved.

.

(b)

Deadline for certain permit applications under existing leases

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding the amendment made by subsection (a), a lease under which a covered application is submitted to the Secretary of the Interior shall be considered to be in directed suspension during the period beginning May 27, 2010, and ending on the date the Secretary issues a final decision on the application, if the Secretary does not issue a final decision on the application—

(A)

before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, in the case of a covered application submitted before such date of enactment; or

(B)

before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date the application is received by the Secretary, in the case of a covered application submitted on or after such date of enactment.

(2)

Covered application

In this subsection the term covered application means an application for a permit to drill under an oil and gas lease under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, that—

(A)

represents a resubmission of an approved permit to drill (including an application for a permit to sidetrack) that was approved by the Secretary before May 27, 2010; and

(B)

is received by the Secretary after October 12, 2010, and before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.

102.

Extension of certain outer Continental Shelf leases

(a)

Definition of Covered Lease

In this section, the term covered lease means each oil and gas lease for the Gulf of Mexico outer Continental Shelf region issued under section 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 U.S.C. 1337) that—

(1)
(A)

was not producing as of April 30, 2010; or

(B)

was suspended from operations, permit processing, or consideration, in accordance with the moratorium set forth in the Minerals Management Service Notice to Lessees and Operators No. 2010–N04, dated May 30, 2010, or the decision memorandum of the Secretary of the Interior entitled Decision memorandum regarding the suspension of certain offshore permitting and drilling activities on the Outer Continental Shelf and dated July 12, 2010; and

(2)

by its terms would expire on or before December 31, 2011.

(b)

Extension of covered leases

The Secretary of the Interior shall extend the term of a covered lease by 1 year.

(c)

Effect on suspensions of operations or production

The extension of covered leases under this section is in addition to any suspension of operations or suspension of production granted by the Minerals Management Service or Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement after May 1, 2010.

II

Judicial Review of Agency Actions Relating to Outer Continental Shelf Activities in the Gulf of Mexico

201.

Definitions for title

In this title—

(1)

the term covered civil action means a civil action containing a claim under section 702 of title 5, United States Code, regarding agency action (as defined for the purposes of that section) affecting a covered energy project in the Gulf of Mexico; and

(2)

the term covered energy project means the leasing of Federal lands of the Outer Continental Shelf (including submerged lands) for the exploration, development, production, processing, or transmission of oil, natural gas, wind, or any other source of energy in the Gulf of Mexico, and any action under such a lease, except that the term does not include any disputes between the parties to a lease regarding the obligations under such lease, including regarding any alleged breach of the lease.

202.

Exclusive venue for certain civil actions relating to covered energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico

Venue for any covered civil action shall not lie in any district court not within the 5th circuit unless there is no proper venue in any court within that circuit.

203.

Time limitation on filing

A covered civil action is barred unless filed no later than the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the final Federal agency action to which it relates.

204.

Expedition in hearing and determining the action

The court shall endeavor to hear and determine any covered civil action as expeditiously as possible.

205.

Standard of review

In any judicial review of a covered civil action, administrative findings and conclusions relating to the challenged Federal action or decision shall be presumed to be correct, and the presumption may be rebutted only by the preponderance of the evidence contained in the administrative record.

206.

Limitation on prospective relief

In a covered civil action, the court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of a legal requirement, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct that violation.

207.

Limitation on attorneys’ fees

Sections 504 of title 5, United States Code, and 2412 of title 28, United States Code (together commonly called the Equal Access to Justice Act) do not apply to a covered civil action, nor shall any party in such a covered civil action receive payment from the Federal Government for their attorneys’ fees, expenses, and other court costs.

III

Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act

301.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act.

302.

Requirement to conduct proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 216 in the Central Gulf of Mexico

(a)

In general

The Secretary of the Interior shall conduct offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 216 under section 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (33 U.S.C. 1337) as soon as practicable, but not later than 4 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

(b)

Environmental review

For the purposes of that lease sale, the Environmental Impact Statement for the 2007–2012 5-Year OCS Plan and the Multi-Sale Environmental Impact Statement are deemed to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

303.

Requirement to conduct proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 218 in the Western Gulf of Mexico

(a)

In general

The Secretary of the Interior shall conduct offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 218 under section 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (33 U.S.C. 1337) as soon as practicable, but not later than 8 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

(b)

Environmental review

For the purposes of that lease sale, the Environmental Impact Statement for the 2007–2012 5-Year OCS Plan and the Multi-Sale Environmental Impact Statement are deemed to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

304.

Requirement to conduct proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 220 on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Virginia

(a)

In general

The Secretary of the Interior shall conduct offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 220 under section 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (33 U.S.C. 1337) as soon as practicable, but not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act.

(b)

Prohibition on conflicts with military operations

The Secretary shall not make any tract available for leasing under this section if the President, through the Secretary of Defense, determines that drilling activity on that tract would create an unreasonable conflict with military operations.

305.

Requirement to conduct proposed oil and gas Lease Sale 222 in the Central Gulf of Mexico

(a)

In general

The Secretary of the Interior shall conduct offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 222 under section 8 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (33 U.S.C. 1337) as soon as practicable, but not later than June 1, 2012.

(b)

Environmental Review

For the purposes of that lease sale, the Environmental Impact Statement for the 2007–2012 5-Year OCS Plan and the Multi-Sale Environmental Impact Statement are deemed to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

306.

Definitions

In this title:

(1)

The term Environmental Impact Statement for the 2007–2012 5 Year OCS Plan means the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2007–2012 (April 2007) prepared by the Secretary of the Interior.

(2)

The term Multi-Sale Environmental Impact Statement means the Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales 204, 207, 210, 215, and 218, and Proposed Central Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales 205, 206, 208, 213, 216, and 222 (September 2008) prepared by the Secretary of the Interior.

Passed the House of Representatives May 11, 2011.

Karen L. Haas,

Clerk

May 16, 2011

Read the second time and placed on the calendar