(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Colorado’s Republican House Members Reps. Tipton, Coffman, Gardner, and Lamborn all just voted to cut Coloradans out of oil and gas decisions for public lands administered by the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It's no wonder that the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy bill (HR 1965) is lauded in glowing terms by the industry press, like The Bakken Magazine, because it promises to:
…streamline the permitting process for energy development on federal lands while increasing the amount of total development. The bill, sponsored by Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill focuses on two main areas of federal lands energy development: leasing and permitting [to drill].
Stripped of the self-serving industry frame, however, it looks more like Colorado’s Republican House Members all voted for legislation that would limit citizen input and force American taxpayers to pay thousands of dollars to petition their government. It would also mandate leasing some of America’s best wildlife habitat for the still-fictitious resource of ‘oil shale;’ prohibit federal regulation or even study of fracking; and, generally ease the way for more drilling and fracking projects.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Embarrassment) puts it this way on his tax-funded website, calling the effort to eliminate public oversight:
…an essential part of the House Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy plan and would remove government hurdles and red-tape that block and delay development of our onshore oil, natural gas, and renewable resources.
On the other hand DeSmogBlog puts it this way:
Lamborn’s bill also aims to prevent individuals from opposing any proposed drilling project by requiring anyone who wishes to file an official protest to a proposed project to pay a whopping $5,000 fee. Also, if the bill is passed, onshore drilling permits will be automatically approved if the DOI does not act on the permits within a 60-day period.
The DeSmog description comes closer. Public involvement is not ‘red tape,’ and not surprisingly Rep. Lamborn is an offensive twerp for suggesting that it is. But DeSmog doesn’t get it quite right either, Colorado’s House Republicans don’t just want to limit the ability of citizens to have input on ‘drilling’ projects. It’s worse than that.