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H.R. 4535 (114th): Keep It in the Ground Act of 2016

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 11, 2016.


Keep It in the Ground Act of 2016

This bill states as U.S. policy that: (1)federal land and waters should be managed for the benefit of the people of the United States to avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change and promote a rapid transition to clean energy; and (2)the government should not issue any new lease or renew any nonproducing lease for coal, oil, or natural gas exploration or production in any federal land or waters.

As such, the bill amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) from renewing, reinstating, or extending any nonproducing lease, or issuing any authorization for the exploration or production of oil, natural gas, or any other fossil fuel in the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, or any other area of the Outer Continental Shelf. BOEM shall also cancel any lease issued under such Act in the Beaufort Sea, Cook Inlet, or Chukchi Sea (three of the five bodies of water that encompass the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf).

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must not issue, renew, reinstate, or extend any nonproducing lease for the exploration or production of any onshore fossil fuels, including coal, oil, tar sands, oil shale, and gas, on land subject to the Mineral Leasing Act.

BOEM and the BLM may exempt any provision of this bill if either agency determines that there is an imminent national security threat and that issuing an exemption would significantly reduce such threat, but only for as long as the threat persists.In addition, BOEM and the BLM may allow a nonproducing lease to be renewed or extended if: (1)the lease contract was signed before this bill, and (2)giving effect to any provision of this bill is likely to lead to a material breach of contract.