Sens. Cruz, Inhofe Introduce Federal Land Freedom Act and FRESH Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) this week introduced the Federal Land Freedom Act and the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act to give each state the right to develop and regulate the energy resources on the federal lands located within that state's borders.
Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said:
"In just the first few months of the Biden administration, we have witnessed an inflation crisis and increased regulatory burdens hurting everyday consumers and weighing down Texas energy producers. As we work to undo the damage to American energy independence from this administration's policies, I am proud to join Sen. Inhofe on these bills to empower states to take full advantage of the abundant energy resources on federal land within their borders and free them from needless bureaucratic red tape that hinders economic growth and hurts blue-collar workers across this country."
Sen. Inhofe added:
"Under the previous administration we achieved energy independence, but, in the Biden administration, we've reversed much of our progress. The results are clear - higher gas prices, runaway inflation and fewer operating wells in Oklahoma. With the Biden administration working to undo our efforts to bring regulatory relief to Oklahoma's oil and gas producers, the need to return power back to the states where it belongs is more important now than ever. That's why I've reintroduced the Federal Land Freedom Act. This bill gives our states the ability to proactively and responsibly develop energy on federal lands.
"I've also introduced the FRESH Act, which gives states full 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, Okla., in 1948. In fact, since then, over one million wells have been fracked, but there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination caused by the process. Enacting the FRESH Act will let us keep states in the driver's seat - which is where they should be."
The Federal Land Freedom Act is co-sponsored by Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
- The bill 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: Native American 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. 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 the 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.
The Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act is co-sponsored by Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.).
- 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.