FEDERAL - REGULATORY: NEPA Rulemaking. On January 10, the Trump administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking to overhaul National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations making it easier for federal agencies, like the Bureau of Land Management, to approve infrastructure, construction, and oil and gas development projects without considering climate change. The Update to the Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (85 Fed. Reg. 1684) “would modernize and clarify the regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by Federal agencies in connection with proposals for agency action.” The move has been widely praised by the pipeline, construction, and oil and gas industry as well as legislators in energy producing states. “I applaud President Trump’s decision to overhaul burdensome NEPA requirements, which for too long have thwarted energy development and critical infrastructure projects in Wyoming,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). “NEPA’s out-of-date regulations have been abused by far-left environmental extremists to delay countless energy and infrastructure projects across the country.” The public comment period is open through March 10, 2020. Read more.
STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Permitting – West Virginia. On January 8, SB 84 was introduced by Sen. Randy Smith (R). “The purpose of this bill is to allow for expedited oil and gas well permitting and expedited oil and gas well permit modifications upon the payment of applicable expedited fees, the designation of the proceeds of such expedited fees, and the daily pro rata refund of the expedited fees if the permit is not approved between the 45th and 60th days after the submission of a permit application, and daily pro rata refund of one half of the modification fees between the 10th and 20th days after the submission of a permit modification application; all generally related to horizontal well oil and gas permitting.” Read more.INDUSTRY NEWS: Nationwide hydraulic fracturing ban would invite global recession, says API. On January 7, American Petroleum Institute president and CEO, Mike Sommers, told an audience at the State of American Energy event that Democratic presidential candidate plans to ban hydraulic fracturing would cost American jobs, spike household energy costs and spur a manufacturing downturn. “You don’t abolish the most dynamic asset in the world’s leading energy supplier without severe consequences,” said Sommers. Read more.