The House of Representatives has at least five bills that impact the drilling industry that are waiting to move to either the House Rules Committee, which would determine rules for each bill to be debated and voted on in the full House or, if a congressional staffer is correct, at least one of the bills might move directly to the House floor.

The Driller contacted the offices of all the representatives who introduced those bills (which cover a broad spectrum of issues impacting drilling) and requested information on the status of those bills, but only a few staffers responded.

The five bills are listed by their numbers, names, who introduced them, information on what each seeks to accomplish, actions that have occurred, and their current status within Congress; they are:

  • H.R. 1449, the Committing Leases for Energy Access Now Act or CLEAN Act, introduced by Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), addresses geothermal leasing and permitting issues by amending the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to hold lease sales annually for geothermal energy. Under H.R. 1449, if a lease sale is missed, the DOI would be required to hold replacement sales during the same year. The bill would also require DOI to respond to geothermal drilling permit applications within 30 days of receipt. The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on this bill on Oct. 25, 2023. On Dec. 6, the Committee on Natural Resources held a mark-up session on the bill and ordered it reported, but no further action has occurred.

  • H.R. 2741, The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2023, which contains Section 346, a provision covering crew nationality requirements for vessels, vehicles, and structures, including rigs and platforms that was introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.). Section 346 alters exemptions to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act’s crew nationality requirements, and that provision was passed in the House in the 117th Congress (H.R. 6865) but was not taken up by the Senate.

  • H.R. 6009, the Restoring American Energy Dominance Act, was introduced by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) The bill would require the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw a recently proposed Biden administration onshore oil and gas leasing rule that would significantly increase and create new fees for oil and gas production on federal lands. On Dec. 6, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a mark-up session on the bill and ordered it be reported.

  • H.R. 6011, the Right of Way Application Transparency and Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), the bill addresses a bottleneck in the permitting process for all energy projects on federal lands by requiring federal agencies to notify right-of-way applicants if their application is complete within 90 days. At present, there is no such timetable for responding to right-of-way applications on federal lands. On Oct. 25, 2023, not long after the bill was introduced, it was referred to both the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture, which referred it to the Subcommittee on Forestry. On Dec. 6, the Natural Resources Committee held a mark-up session on the bill and ordered it be reported, while the Forestry Subcommittee has not taken any action.

  • H.R. 6285, the Alaska's Right to Produce Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), the bill seeks to reverse two recent actions taken by the Biden administration by reinstating the previously issued Arctic National Wildlife Refuge leases and canceling the proposed rule establishing the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on this bill on Nov. 29, 2023. On Dec. 6, the Committee on Natural Resources held a markup session on the bill and ordered it to be reported.

A staffer for Rep. Graves who declined to be identified said H.R. 2711 " continues to languish " and “nothing new has occurred.” The staffer declined to say more about the proposed legislation.

Shawn Rusterholz, press secretary for Rep. Stauber provided a little more information about the status of H.R. 6285, saying “it is not being held up, it’s just going through the normal process at this time.” Rusterholz added that he and other members of Stauber’s staff are “working with House leadership” to have the bill move through that process, and it is “mostly likely be brought up” in the Rules Committee.

Anthony Sakhoury, press secretary for Rep. Boebert, said H.R. 6009 is expected to make it to the full House for a vote. When the bill passes the Committee on Natural Resources, it is expected to go to the House for a vote. “We’re waiting for it to go to the full House,” he said, adding that it is up to House Speaker Mark Johnson (R-La.) when that will occur.