Daines Calls on Obama Administration to Lift Barriers to Montana Energy Production

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines today condemned the Obama administration’s refusal to embrace an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and called on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to revise Department of Interior policies that stand in the way of Montana tribes’ ability to develop their coal resources and create good paying jobs.

During this morning’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Interior Department’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, Daines pressed Jewell to also reduce the bureaucratic overreach limiting new oil and gas permitting in eastern Montana and ensure the state of Montana has primacy in developing and implementing a sage grouse management plan.

“I remain very concerned that the Administration does not support the all-of-the-above approach that we embrace in Montana,” Daines stated. “It is gravely important that we explore all avenues to stimulate the economy through responsible energy development to maintain our expansive coal industry and reinvigorate our timber industry. I am committed to working with the administration to protect Montanans’ access to public lands and keep energy prices low for hardworking Montana families.”

During the hearing, Daines outlined the economic importance of coal production to Montana’s Crow Tribe and noted that rail and port infrastructure, such as the Gateway Pacific Terminal in Washington State, are critical for ensuring that Crow coal has access to markets that are critical to creating new high paying jobs on the reservation.  Daines pressed Jewell to fully consider all tribes’ treaty rights as the Gateway Pacific Terminal completes the permitting process.

Daines also expressed his concerns that the Obama administration’s limited permitting of oil and gas development on federal lands is putting Montana jobs and American energy independence at risk. Daines pressed Jewell to move forward to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that truly encompass all sources of energy, including coal, oil, natural gas and hydropower.

Video of Senator Daines following today’s hearing is available here.