Lankford, Cramer Press Interior to Implement Permitting Reform

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, to led 15 colleagues urging Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland to implement provisions of the bipartisan infrastructure law which streamlined permitting for oil and natural gas infrastructure. In the letter, the Senators highlight a section of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which gave the Biden Administration authority to categorically exclude certain energy-related infrastructure projects from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on public and applicable Indian lands to prevent wasteful venting or flaring of natural gas. As Democrats and the Biden Administration push for punitive taxes and regulations on methane from oil and gas production, this section of IIJA is an available tool, currently unused by DOI, to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions on federal lands. 

“A further reduction in methane and carbon dioxide emissions requires the federal government to serve as a facilitating partner in the development of midstream infrastructure, with federal land managers playing a pivotal role. As the North Dakota experience demonstrates, enabling private sector innovation, rather than imposing top-down federal requirements, is an effective way to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions,” wrote the Senators.

“It has been more than seven months since the IIJA was passed and we are not aware of any substantive action taken by DOI to implement section 11318 on the lands you manage,” continued the Senators. 

“To date, we have not seen any substantive evidence of federal land managers utilizing the permitting efficiencies at your disposal. Rather than pursuing a punitive approach, federal land managers should use NEPA authorities like this to work with producers in a collaborative manner. We respectfully request an update on DOI’s implementation of the categorical exclusion under NEPA for issuance of a sundry notice or right-of-way for oil, natural gas, and produced water gathering lines and associated field compression or pumping units to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions on federal and applicable tribal lands,” concluded the Senators. 

Lankford and Cramer were joined by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cynthia Lummis (R-SD), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and John Cornyn (R-TX). 

To read the letter HERE or below.