03.29.17

Daines Praises Zinke Action to Protect Montana Energy Jobs

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today praised the action taken by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to protect Montana energy jobs.

Zinke today reinstated the Royalty Policy Committee, ended the coal-leasing moratorium and withdrew the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. Zinke additionally launched a review of several other rules to unleash American energy and restore energy dominance. Daines was with Zinke as he signed these orders at DOI today.

“It’s great to see the Trump administration and Secretary Zinke prioritize energy dominance,” Daines stated. “By ending these harmful regulations and instilling commonsense policy, we can ensure our state and Indian tribes have a seat at the table and protect Montana energy jobs.”

Just yesterday, Daines praised President Donald J. Trump’s executive action to end the war on coal. 

Coal Leasing:

Secretarial Order 3338 imposed a moratorium on federal coal leasing, paused ongoing lease applications and modification reviews, and launched a programmatic review of the federal coal leasing program, including overhauling the leasing process and changing royalty rates. This moratorium and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement would have put nearly 65,000 direct and indirect mining jobs at risk, as well as impact the billions of dollars in revenues to states.

On March 1, 2017, Daines wrote to Zinke urging him to end the moratorium on coal leasing.

On January 11, Daines issued a condemnation of BLM’s results of their laughable “comprehensive, public review” of the Nation’s federal coal program.

On December 6, 2016 Daines urged President Trump to reverse moratorium on coal leasing.

On June 21, 2016 Daines held a public scoping meeting in Billings to ensure that the DOI hears the voices that will be most impacted by their review of the federal coal program. Daines submitted 68 comments for their review. 

On July 15, 2016 Daines called on DOI to suspend its review of the federal coal program and its moratorium on new coal-lease sales. 

On May 17, 2016, Daines introduced legislation to protect Montana coal jobs from the Obama administration’s recent moratorium on new federal coal leases and ensure that states and tribes have a significant voice in any changes to federal coal, oil, gas royalties or leasing policy.

Royalty Policy Committee:

On March 15, 2017, Daines led Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso in calling for Secretary Zinke to reinstate the Royalty Policy Committee.

On June 16, 2016, Daines led a bipartisan effort to reinstate the Royalty Policy Committee in FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill to ensure greater transparency in creating royalty and leasing policy for mineral production from federal and tribal lands. 

On May 17, 2016, Daines introduced the Certainty for States and Tribes Act which provides critical flexibility needed to keep Montana mines open, protect thousands of good-paying jobs and provide needed support for government and community services. The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on the companion bill introduced by former Representative Ryan Zinke on June 14, 2016 and it was favorably reported on November 22, 2016.

On June 21, 2016, Daines held a public scoping meeting in Billings to ensure that the DOI hears the voices that will be most impacted by their review of the federal coal program. Daines submitted 68 comments for their review. 

Montanans’ voices were excluded from the proposed review of the moratorium on coal leasing. According to an announcement from DOI, public meetings are currently planned to be held in May and June in Casper, Wyo.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Seattle, Wash.   

Daines had repeatedly called on former DOI Secretary Sally Jewell to have meaningful consultation with states and tribes, like the Crow tribe. Jewell recently visited Montana and failed to visit with the coal communities that will be impacted by her actions. He blasted her decision to exclude Montanans during the proposed review of their moratorium on coal leasing. 

Hydraulic fracturing:

The BLM hydraulic fracturing rule, in particular, is duplicative of Montana state rules and would make it harder to do business with Native nations and on federal lands making Montana less competitive in energy markets.

On March 1, 2017, Daines wrote to Zinke urging him to end the hydraulic fracturing rule. 

On December 6, 2016, Daines wrote to Trump asking him to rescind this rule. 

On March 20, 2016, Daines blasted DOI’s new regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federally owned lands as a direct attack on American jobs and American energy. 

In the 114th Congress, Daines was a co-sponsor of S. 828, the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act, which would protect states’ regulatory rights and prohibit any federal regulations from applying to hydraulic fracturing on state or federal lands.

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