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Text of the Alaskan Energy for American Jobs Act

This bill was introduced on February 1, 2012, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Feb 9, 2012 (Reported by House Committee).

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Union Calendar No. 273

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3407

[Report No. 112–393]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 14, 2011

(for himself and Mr. Young of Alaska) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

February 9, 2012

Additional sponsors: Mr. Kline and Mr. Duncan of South Carolina

February 9, 2012

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on November 14, 2011


A BILL

To direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain of Alaska, to ensure secure energy supplies for the continental Pacific Coast of the United States, lower prices, and reduce imports, and for other purposes.


1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Alaskan Energy for American Jobs Act.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Coastal plain

The term Coastal Plain means that area described in appendix I to part 37 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations.

(2)

Peer reviewed

The term peer reviewed means reviewed—

(A)

by individuals chosen by the National Academy of Sciences with no contractual relationship with, or those who have no application for a grant or other funding pending with, the Federal agency with leasing jurisdiction; or

(B)

if individuals described in subparagraph (A) are not available, by the top individuals in the specified biological fields, as determined by the National Academy of Sciences.

(3)

Secretary

The term Secretary, except as otherwise provided, means the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary’s designee.

3.

Leasing program for lands within the Coastal Plain

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary—

(1)

to establish and implement, in accordance with this Act and acting through the Director of the Bureau of Land Management in consultation with the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain; and

(2)

to administer the provisions of this Act through regulations, lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, stipulations, and other provisions that ensure the oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities on the Coastal Plain will result in no significant adverse effect on fish and wildlife, their habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment, including, in furtherance of this goal, by requiring the application of the best commercially available technology for oil and gas exploration, development, and production to all exploration, development, and production operations under this Act in a manner that ensures the receipt of fair market value by the public for the mineral resources to be leased.

(b)

Repeal of existing restriction

(1)

Repeal

Section 1003 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3143) is repealed.

(2)

Conforming amendment

The table of contents in section 1 of such Act is amended by striking the item relating to section 1003.

(c)

Compliance with requirements under certain other laws

(1)

Compatibility

For purposes of the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.), the oil and gas leasing program and activities authorized by this section in the Coastal Plain are deemed to be compatible with the purposes for which the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established, and no further findings or decisions are required to implement this determination.

(2)

Adequacy of the Department of the Interior’s legislative environmental impact statement

The Final Legislative Environmental Impact Statement (April 1987) on the Coastal Plain prepared pursuant to section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3142) and section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)) is deemed to satisfy the requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 that apply with respect to prelease activities under this Act, including actions authorized to be taken by the Secretary to develop and promulgate the regulations for the establishment of a leasing program authorized by this Act before the conduct of the first lease sale.

(3)

Compliance with NEPA for other actions

Before conducting the first lease sale under this Act, the Secretary shall prepare an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 with respect to the actions authorized by this Act that are not referred to in paragraph (2). Notwithstanding any other law, the Secretary is not required to identify nonleasing alternative courses of action or to analyze the environmental effects of such courses of action. The Secretary shall only identify a preferred action for such leasing and a single leasing alternative, and analyze the environmental effects and potential mitigation measures for those two alternatives. The identification of the preferred action and related analysis for the first lease sale under this Act shall be completed within 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act. The Secretary shall only consider public comments that specifically address the Secretary’s preferred action and that are filed within 20 days after publication of an environmental analysis. Notwithstanding any other law, compliance with this paragraph is deemed to satisfy all requirements for the analysis and consideration of the environmental effects of proposed leasing under this Act.

(d)

Relationship to State and local authority

Nothing in this Act shall be considered to expand or limit State and local regulatory authority.

(e)

Special areas

(1)

In general

The Secretary, after consultation with the State of Alaska, the city of Kaktovik, and the North Slope Borough, may designate up to a total of 45,000 acres of the Coastal Plain as a Special Area if the Secretary determines that the Special Area is of such unique character and interest so as to require special management and regulatory protection. The Secretary shall designate as such a Special Area the Sadlerochit Spring area, comprising approximately 4,000 acres.

(2)

Management

Each such Special Area shall be managed so as to protect and preserve the area’s unique and diverse character including its fish, wildlife, and subsistence resource values.

(3)

Exclusion from leasing or surface occupancy

The Secretary may exclude any Special Area from leasing. If the Secretary leases a Special Area, or any part thereof, for purposes of oil and gas exploration, development, production, and related activities, there shall be no surface occupancy of the lands comprising the Special Area.

(4)

Directional drilling

Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subsection, the Secretary may lease all or a portion of a Special Area under terms that permit the use of horizontal drilling technology from sites on leases tracts located outside the Special Area.

(f)

Limitation on closed areas

The Secretary’s sole authority to close lands within the Coastal Plain to oil and gas leasing and to exploration, development, and production is that set forth in this Act.

(g)

Regulations

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this Act, including regulations relating to protection of the fish and wildlife, their habitat, subsistence resources, and environment of the Coastal Plain, by no later than 15 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2)

Revision of regulations

The Secretary shall, through a rule making conducted in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, periodically review and, if appropriate, revise the regulations issued under subsection (a) to reflect a preponderance of the best available scientific evidence that has been peer reviewed and obtained by following appropriate, documented scientific procedures, the results of which can be repeated using those same procedures.

4.

Lease sales

(a)

In general

Lands may be leased under this Act to any person qualified to obtain a lease for deposits of oil and gas under the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 181 et seq.).

(b)

Procedures

The Secretary shall, by regulation and no later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, establish procedures for—

(1)

receipt and consideration of sealed nominations for any area of the Coastal Plain for inclusion in, or exclusion (as provided in subsection (c)) from, a lease sale;

(2)

the holding of lease sales after such nomination process; and

(3)

public notice of and comment on designation of areas to be included in, or excluded from, a lease sale.

(c)

Lease sale bids

Lease sales under this Act may be conducted through an Internet leasing program, if the Secretary determines that such a system will result in savings to the taxpayer, an increase in the number of bidders participating, and higher returns than oral bidding or a sealed bidding system.

(d)

Sale acreages and schedule

(1)

The Secretary shall offer for lease under this Act those tracts the Secretary considers to have the greatest potential for the discovery of hydrocarbons, taking into consideration nominations received pursuant to subsection (b)(1).

(2)

The Secretary shall offer for lease under this Act no less than 50,000 acres for lease within 22 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(3)

The Secretary shall offer for lease under this Act no less than an additional 50,000 acres at 6-, 12-, and 18-month intervals following offering under paragraph (2).

(4)

The Secretary shall conduct four additional sales under the same terms and schedule no later than two years after the date of the last sale under paragraph (3), if sufficient interest in leasing exists to warrant, in the Secretary’s judgment, the conduct of such sales.

(5)

The Secretary shall evaluate the bids in each sale and issue leases resulting from such sales, within 90 days after the date of the completion of such sale.

5.

Grant of leases by the Secretary

(a)

In general

The Secretary may grant to the highest responsible qualified bidder in a lease sale conducted under section 4 any lands to be leased on the Coastal Plain upon payment by the such bidder of such bonus as may be accepted by the Secretary.

(b)

Subsequent transfers

No lease issued under this Act may be sold, exchanged, assigned, sublet, or otherwise transferred except with the approval of the Secretary. Prior to any such approval the Secretary shall consult with, and give due consideration to the views of, the Attorney General.

6.

Lease terms and conditions

(a)

In general

An oil or gas lease issued under this Act shall—

(1)

provide for the payment of a royalty of not less than 12½ percent in amount or value of the production removed or sold under the lease, as determined by the Secretary under the regulations applicable to other Federal oil and gas leases;

(2)

provide that the Secretary may close, on a seasonal basis, portions of the Coastal Plain to exploratory drilling activities as necessary to protect caribou calving areas and other species of fish and wildlife based on a preponderance of the best available scientific evidence that has been peer reviewed and obtained by following appropriate, documented scientific procedures, the results of which can be repeated using those same procedures;

(3)

require that the lessee of lands within the Coastal Plain shall be fully responsible and liable for the reclamation of lands within the Coastal Plain and any other Federal lands that are adversely affected in connection with exploration, development, production, or transportation activities conducted under the lease and within the Coastal Plain by the lessee or by any of the subcontractors or agents of the lessee;

(4)

provide that the lessee may not delegate or convey, by contract or otherwise, the reclamation responsibility and liability to another person without the express written approval of the Secretary;

(5)

provide that the standard of reclamation for lands required to be reclaimed under this Act shall be, as nearly as practicable, a condition capable of supporting the uses which the lands were capable of supporting prior to any exploration, development, or production activities, or upon application by the lessee, to a higher or better use as certified by the Secretary;

(6)

contain terms and conditions relating to protection of fish and wildlife, their habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment as required pursuant to section 3(a)(2);

(7)

provide that the lessee, its agents, and its contractors use best efforts to provide a fair share, as determined by the level of obligation previously agreed to in the 1974 agreement implementing section 29 of the Federal Agreement and Grant of Right of Way for the Operation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, of employment and contracting for Alaska Natives and Alaska Native corporations from throughout the State;

(8)

prohibit the export of oil produced under the lease; and

(9)

contain such other provisions as the Secretary determines necessary to ensure compliance with this Act and the regulations issued under this Act.

(b)

Negotiated labor agreements

The Secretary, as a term and condition of each lease under this Act, shall require that the lessee and its agents and contractors negotiate to obtain an agreement for the employment of laborers and mechanics on production, maintenance, and construction under the lease.

7.

Policies regarding buying, building, and working for America

(a)

Congressional intent

It is the intent of the Congress that—

(1)

this Act will support a healthy and growing United States domestic energy sector that, in turn, helps to reinvigorate American manufacturing, transportation, and service sectors by employing the vast talents of United States workers to assist in the development of energy from domestic sources; and

(2)

Congress will monitor the deployment of personnel and material onshore and offshore to encourage the development of American technology and manufacturing to enable United States workers to benefit from this Act through good jobs and careers, as well as the establishment of important industrial facilities to support expanded access to American resources.

(b)

Requirement

The Secretary of the Interior shall when possible, and practicable, encourage the use of United States workers and equipment manufactured in the United States in all construction related to mineral development on the Coastal Plain.

8.

Coastal Plain environmental protection

(a)

No significant adverse effect standard To govern authorized Coastal Plain activities

The Secretary shall, consistent with the requirements of section 3, administer this Act through regulations, lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, stipulations, and other provisions that—

(1)

ensure the oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities on the Coastal Plain will result in no significant adverse effect on fish and wildlife, their habitat, and the environment;

(2)

require the application of the best commercially available technology for oil and gas exploration, development, and production on all new exploration, development, and production operations; and

(3)

ensure that the maximum amount of surface acreage covered by production and support facilities, including airstrips and any areas covered by gravel berms or piers for support of pipelines, does not exceed 10,000 acres on the Coastal Plain for each 100,000 acres of area leased.

(b)

Site-Specific assessment and mitigation

The Secretary shall also require, with respect to any proposed drilling and related activities, that—

(1)

a site-specific analysis be made of the probable effects, if any, that the drilling or related activities will have on fish and wildlife, their habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment;

(2)

a plan be implemented to avoid, minimize, and mitigate (in that order and to the extent practicable) any significant adverse effect identified under paragraph (1); and

(3)

the development of the plan shall occur after consultation with the agency or agencies having jurisdiction over matters mitigated by the plan.

(c)

Regulations To protect Coastal Plain fish and wildlife resources, subsistence users, and the environment

Before implementing the leasing program authorized by this Act, the Secretary shall prepare and promulgate regulations, lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, stipulations, and other measures designed to ensure that the activities undertaken on the Coastal Plain under this Act are conducted in a manner consistent with the purposes and environmental requirements of this Act.

(d)

Compliance with Federal and State environmental laws and other requirements

The proposed regulations, lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, and stipulations for the leasing program under this Act shall require compliance with all applicable provisions of Federal and State environmental law, and shall also require the following:

(1)

Standards at least as effective as the safety and environmental mitigation measures set forth in items 1 through 29 at pages 167 through 169 of the Final Legislative Environmental Impact Statement (April 1987) on the Coastal Plain.

(2)

Seasonal limitations on exploration, development, and related activities, where necessary, to avoid significant adverse effects during periods of concentrated fish and wildlife breeding, denning, nesting, spawning, and migration based on a preponderance of the best available scientific evidence that has been peer reviewed and obtained by following appropriate, documented scientific procedures, the results of which can be repeated using those same procedures.

(3)

That exploration activities, except for surface geological studies, be limited to the period between approximately November 1 and May 1 each year and that exploration activities shall be supported, if necessary, by ice roads, winter trails with adequate snow cover, ice pads, ice airstrips, and air transport methods, except that such exploration activities may occur at other times if the Secretary finds that such exploration will have no significant adverse effect on the fish and wildlife, their habitat, and the environment of the Coastal Plain.

(4)

Design safety and construction standards for all pipelines and any access and service roads, that—

(A)

minimize, to the maximum extent possible, adverse effects upon the passage of migratory species such as caribou; and

(B)

minimize adverse effects upon the flow of surface water by requiring the use of culverts, bridges, and other structural devices.

(5)

Prohibitions on general public access and use on all pipeline access and service roads.

(6)

Stringent reclamation and rehabilitation requirements, consistent with the standards set forth in this Act, requiring the removal from the Coastal Plain of all oil and gas development and production facilities, structures, and equipment upon completion of oil and gas production operations, except that the Secretary may exempt from the requirements of this paragraph those facilities, structures, or equipment that the Secretary determines would assist in the management of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and that are donated to the United States for that purpose.

(7)

Appropriate prohibitions or restrictions on access by all modes of transportation.

(8)

Appropriate prohibitions or restrictions on sand and gravel extraction.

(9)

Consolidation of facility siting.

(10)

Appropriate prohibitions or restrictions on use of explosives.

(11)

Avoidance, to the extent practicable, of springs, streams, and river systems; the protection of natural surface drainage patterns, wetlands, and riparian habitats; and the regulation of methods or techniques for developing or transporting adequate supplies of water for exploratory drilling.

(12)

Avoidance or minimization of air traffic-related disturbance to fish and wildlife.

(13)

Treatment and disposal of hazardous and toxic wastes, solid wastes, reserve pit fluids, drilling muds and cuttings, and domestic wastewater, including an annual waste management report, a hazardous materials tracking system, and a prohibition on chlorinated solvents, in accordance with applicable Federal and State environmental law.

(14)

Fuel storage and oil spill contingency planning.

(15)

Research, monitoring, and reporting requirements.

(16)

Field crew environmental briefings.

(17)

Avoidance of significant adverse effects upon subsistence hunting, fishing, and trapping by subsistence users.

(18)

Compliance with applicable air and water quality standards.

(19)

Appropriate seasonal and safety zone designations around well sites, within which subsistence hunting and trapping shall be limited.

(20)

Reasonable stipulations for protection of cultural and archeological resources.

(21)

All other protective environmental stipulations, restrictions, terms, and conditions deemed necessary by the Secretary.

(e)

Considerations

In preparing and promulgating regulations, lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, and stipulations under this section, the Secretary shall consider the following:

(1)

The stipulations and conditions that govern the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska leasing program, as set forth in the 1999 Northeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Final Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement.

(2)

The environmental protection standards that governed the initial Coastal Plain seismic exploration program under parts 37.31 to 37.33 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations.

(3)

The land use stipulations for exploratory drilling on the KIC–ASRC private lands that are set forth in appendix 2 of the August 9, 1983, agreement between Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and the United States.

(f)

Facility consolidation planning

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall, after providing for public notice and comment, prepare and update periodically a plan to govern, guide, and direct the siting and construction of facilities for the exploration, development, production, and transportation of Coastal Plain oil and gas resources.

(2)

Objectives

The plan shall have the following objectives:

(A)

Avoiding unnecessary duplication of facilities and activities.

(B)

Encouraging consolidation of common facilities and activities.

(C)

Locating or confining facilities and activities to areas that will minimize impact on fish and wildlife, their habitat, and the environment.

(D)

Utilizing existing facilities wherever practicable.

(E)

Enhancing compatibility between wildlife values and development activities.

(g)

Access to public lands

The Secretary shall—

(1)

manage public lands in the Coastal Plain subject to section 811 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3121); and

(2)

ensure that local residents shall have reasonable access to public lands in the Coastal Plain for traditional uses.

9.

Expedited judicial review

(a)

Filing of complaint

(1)

Deadline

Subject to paragraph (2), any complaint seeking judicial review—

(A)

of any provision of this Act shall be filed by not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act; or

(B)

of any action of the Secretary under this Act shall be filed—

(i)

except as provided in clause (ii), within the 90-day period beginning on the date of the action being challenged; or

(ii)

in the case of a complaint based solely on grounds arising after such period, within 90 days after the complainant knew or reasonably should have known of the grounds for the complaint.

(2)

Venue

Any complaint seeking judicial review of any provision of this Act or any action of the Secretary under this Act may be filed only in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

(3)

Limitation on scope of certain review

Judicial review of a Secretarial decision to conduct a lease sale under this Act, including the environmental analysis thereof, shall be limited to whether the Secretary has complied with this Act and shall be based upon the administrative record of that decision. The Secretary’s identification of a preferred course of action to enable leasing to proceed and the Secretary’s analysis of environmental effects under this Act shall be presumed to be correct unless shown otherwise by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.

(b)

Limitation on other review

Actions of the Secretary with respect to which review could have been obtained under this section shall not be subject to judicial review in any civil or criminal proceeding for enforcement.

(c)

Limitation on attorneys’ fees and court costs

No person seeking judicial review of any action under this Act shall receive payment from the Federal Government for their attorneys’ fees and other court costs, including under any provision of law enacted by the Equal Access to Justice Act (5 U.S.C. 504 note).

10.

Treatment of revenues

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 50 percent of the amount of bonus, rental, and royalty revenues from Federal oil and gas leasing and operations authorized under this Act shall be deposited in the Treasury.

11.

Rights-of-way across the Coastal Plain

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall issue rights-of-way and easements across the Coastal Plain for the transportation of oil and gas produced under leases under this Act—

(1)

except as provided in paragraph (2), under section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 185), without regard to title XI of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3161 et seq.); and

(2)

under title XI of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (30 U.S.C. 3161 et seq.), for access authorized by sections 1110 and 1111 of that Act (16 U.S.C. 3170 and 3171).

(b)

Terms and conditions

The Secretary shall include in any right-of-way or easement issued under subsection (a) such terms and conditions as may be necessary to ensure that transportation of oil and gas does not result in a significant adverse effect on the fish and wildlife, subsistence resources, their habitat, and the environment of the Coastal Plain, including requirements that facilities be sited or designed so as to avoid unnecessary duplication of roads and pipelines.

(c)

Regulations

The Secretary shall include in regulations under section 3(g) provisions granting rights-of-way and easements described in subsection (a) of this section.

12.

Conveyance

In order to maximize Federal revenues by removing clouds on title to lands and clarifying land ownership patterns within the Coastal Plain, the Secretary, notwithstanding section 1302(h)(2) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3192(h)(2)), shall convey—

(1)

to the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation the surface estate of the lands described in paragraph 1 of Public Land Order 6959, to the extent necessary to fulfill the Corporation’s entitlement under sections 12 and 14 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1611 and 1613) in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Agreement between the Department of the Interior, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation dated January 22, 1993; and

(2)

to the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation the remaining subsurface estate to which it is entitled pursuant to the August 9, 1983, agreement between the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and the United States of America.

February 9, 2012

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed