Natural Resources Committee Passes Bill to Unlock NPR-A
#Washington – The House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill today aimed at opening up the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The bipartisan vote of 28-14 sought to eliminate bureaucratic challenges regarding the construction of roads, bridges and pipeline in the NPR-A.  National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act (H.R. 2150) is part of the House GOP led American Energy Initiative. These efforts have produced several bills regarding streamlining oil exploration, production and permitting in the NPR-A and the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf. The House previously passed H.R. 2021, which sought to expedite the permitting process in the Outer Continental Shelf. The legislation will spur job growth in Alaska as well as support for current North Slope operations.
“The passage of this bill signifies the bipartisan support for increased American energy production and recognition that the NPR-A should be used as intended – as a petroleum reserve to provide energy to the American people.  Alaska has tremendous energy resources that are being kept under lock-and-key because of the Obama Administration’s policies. As families and small businesses throughout the country continue to struggle with high gasoline prices, it’s absurd that bureaucratic red tape is responsible for delaying this American energy project for years.  There is bipartisan support for leasing in the NPR-A, but true support requires more than just words.  This bill will take real steps to ensure oil and natural gas can be transported out of the reserve and help keep the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) full and functional.  I am pleased my colleagues have joined me in support of this bill, recognizing its importance to American job creation and our national security,” said Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).
The legislation specifically affirms that NPR-A is explicitly designed for the purpose of providing domestic oil. It also requires annual lease sales in NPR-A areas with the most abundant oil and gas reserves. Infrastructure permits will have firm time frames to ensure timely extraction of resources. Additionally, it requires Secretary of the Interior to prepare a right-of-way plan detailing how existing and future leases will be within 25 miles of an approved road or pipeline as well as updated comprehensive assessment of all oil and natural gas resources in the NPR-A.