Dear Readers of Federal Allies News
Yesterday I attended the U. S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute “Energy Strong” summit. Many members of the Trump Administration and Congress spoke about the move from energy independence to “energy dominance”.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spoke enthusiastically about the move to ”energy dominance”. He said that his agency needs regulatory reform to facilitate energy production. Tomorrow the U.S. Department of the Interior will call for comments on regulatory reform–seeking ideas for repeal, replace or modifications of rules/policies. The advanced copy for the Federal Register suggests there is no specific deadline for filing comments. I would urge industry to file comments this summer so that the recommendations can align with DOI’s other agency actions.
Sec. Zinke spoke about the need to streamline permitting. Sec. Zinke, a former Navy Seal, cited the need for “joint command” requiring similar reforms as those made by DOD for military in 2002. He offered the example that, for one stream with two fish species, DOI’s current process might require three separate agency decisions. Sec. Zinke addressed the many flaws in DOI’s use of compensatory mitigation and that this process often functions as “extortion “.
On March 28, 2017 Sec. Zinke eliminated the Obama Administration’s compensatory mitigation policy. See President Trump’s American Energy Independence (“Order 3349”) www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/28/presidential-executive-order-promoting-energy-independence-and-economi-1 and https://www.doi.gov/regulatory-reform The pre-publication copy of the Federal Register notice is https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2017-13062.pdf and it is expected to be published tomorrow.
My firm is following this issue on behalf of electric utilities in several states. They find DOI’s current process delays critical permits for electric transmission lines and hydro plants. Energy production, infrastructure, and mining companies may not be the only industries that are affected by DOI’s bottlenecks. There are documented cases of ground-nesting bees that have delayed construction and transportation projects. A car dealership in Missouri ran into problems with an expansion due to the DOI questions about the North American long-eared bat.
Make sure your organization is well represented on DOI’s reform actions. My company is available to assist you in filing comments to DOI or monitor this issue for you. Perhaps you would like someone to find allies in other industries for a joint letter a to be filed with DOI. My firm is available for small hourly projects or under a capped retainer for efficient and affordable projects.
Thank you, Theresa Pugh