Legislation

May 22 2014

S. 2408

Official Short: No Surface Occupancy Western Arctic Coastal Plain Domestic Energy Security Act

Long Title: To authorize the exploration, leasing, development, and production of oil and gas in and from the western portion of the Coastal Plain of the State of Alaska without surface occupancy, and for other purposes.

Sponsors: Ms. Murkowski and Mr. Begich.

STATUS:

  • May 22, 2014.--Introduced.
  • June 4, 2014.--Mr. Begich added as cosponsor.

S.2408

No Surface Occupancy Western Arctic Coastal Plain Domestic Energy Security Act (Introduced in Senate - IS)

S 2408 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2408

To authorize the exploration, leasing, development, and production of oil and gas in and from the western portion of the Coastal Plain of the State of Alaska without surface occupancy, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 22, 2014

Ms. MURKOWSKI introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To authorize the exploration, leasing, development, and production of oil and gas in and from the western portion of the Coastal Plain of the State of Alaska without surface occupancy, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `No Surface Occupancy Western Arctic Coastal Plain Domestic Energy Security Act'.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
      (1) COASTAL PLAIN- The term `Coastal Plain' means the area described in appendix I to part 37 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations.
      (2) FINAL STATEMENT- The term `Final Statement' means the final legislative environmental impact statement on the Coastal Plain, dated April 1987, and prepared pursuant to--
        (A) section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3142); and
        (B) section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)).
      (3) MAP- The term `map' means the map entitled `Arctic National Wildlife Refuge', dated September 2005, and prepared by the United States Geological Survey.
      (4) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior or the designee of the Secretary.
      (5) WESTERN COASTAL PLAIN- The term `Western Coastal Plain' means that area of the Coastal Plain--
        (A) that borders the land of the State of Alaska to the west and State of Alaska offshore waters of the Beaufort Sea on the north; and
        (B) from which oil and gas can be produced through the use of horizontal drilling or other subsurface technology from sites outside or underneath the surface of the Coastal Plain.

SEC. 3. LEASING PROGRAM FOR LAND WITHIN THE WESTERN COASTAL PLAIN.

    (a) In General-
      (1) AUTHORIZATION- There is authorized the exploration, leasing, development, and production of oil and gas from the Western Coastal Plain.
      (2) ACTIONS- The Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary--
        (A) to establish and implement, in accordance with this Act, a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in an environmentally sound program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Western Coastal Plain; and
        (B) to administer this Act through regulations, lease terms, conditions, restrictions, prohibitions, stipulations, and other provisions that--
          (i) ensure the oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities on the Western Coastal Plain will result in no significant adverse effect on fish and wildlife, fish and wildlife habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment;
          (ii) prohibit surface occupancy of the Western Coastal Plain during oil and gas development and production; and
          (iii) require the application of the best commercially available technology for oil and gas exploration, development, and production to all exploration, development, and production operations under this Act in a manner that ensures the receipt of fair market value by the public for the mineral resources to be leased.
    (b) Compliance With Requirements Under Certain Other Laws-
      (1) COMPATIBILITY- For purposes of the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.)--
        (A) the oil and gas preleasing and leasing program and activities authorized by this section in the Western Coastal Plain shall be considered to be compatible with the purposes for which the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established; and
        (B) no further findings or decisions shall be required to implement that program and those activities.
      (2) ADEQUACY OF THE LEGISLATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR- The Final Statement shall be considered to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) that apply with respect to preleasing activities, including exploration programs and actions authorized to be taken by the Secretary to develop and promulgate the regulations for the establishment of a leasing program authorized by this Act before the conduct of the first lease sale.
      (3) COMPLIANCE WITH NEPA FOR OTHER ACTIONS-
        (A) IN GENERAL- Prior to conducting the first lease sale pursuant to this Act, the Secretary shall prepare an environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) with respect to the activities authorized by this Act that are not covered by paragraph (2).
        (B) IDENTIFICATION AND ANALYSIS- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary shall not--
          (i) identify nonleasing alternative courses of action; or
          (ii) analyze the environmental effect of those courses of action.
        (C) IDENTIFICATION OF PREFERRED ACTION- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall identify only a preferred action and a single leasing alternative for the first lease sale conducted pursuant to this Act.
        (D) EFFECT OF NONCOMPLIANCE- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, compliance with this paragraph shall be considered to satisfy any provision of law or other requirement that requires analysis and consideration of the environmental effects of leasing with respect to the leasing conducted pursuant to this Act.
    (c) Relationship to State and Local Authority- Nothing in this Act expands or limits any State or local regulatory authority.
    (d) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, in consultation with the State of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, Alaska, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, the Secretary shall promulgate such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act.

SEC. 4. LEASE SALES.

    (a) Qualified Lessees- Land may be leased under this Act to any person qualified to obtain a lease for deposits of oil and gas under the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 181 et seq.).
    (b) Procedures- The Secretary shall, by regulation, establish procedures for--
      (1) receipt and consideration of sealed nominations for any area in the Western Coastal Plain for inclusion in a lease sale;
      (2) the holding of lease sales after the nomination process described in paragraph (1); and
      (3) public notice of, and comment on, designation of areas to be included in, or excluded from, a lease sale.
    (c) Lease Sale Bids- Bidding for leases under this Act shall be by sealed competitive cash bonus bids.
    (d) Acreage Minimum in First Sale- For the first lease sale under this Act, the Secretary shall offer for lease those tracts the Secretary considers to have the greatest potential for the discovery of hydrocarbons, taking into consideration nominations received pursuant to subsection (b)(1), but in no case less than 200,000 acres.
    (e) Timing of Lease Sales- The Secretary shall--
      (1) not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, conduct the first lease sale under this Act;
      (2) not later than 1 year after the date on which the first lease sale is conducted under paragraph (1), conduct a second lease sale under this Act; and
      (3) conduct additional sales at appropriate intervals if sufficient interest in exploration or development exists to warrant the conduct of the additional sales.

SEC. 5. GRANT OF LEASES BY THE SECRETARY.

    (a) In General- On payment by a lessee of such bonus as may be accepted by the Secretary, the Secretary shall grant to the highest responsible qualified bidder in a lease sale conducted pursuant to section 4 a lease for any land on the Western Coastal Plain.
    (b) Subsequent Transfers-
      (1) IN GENERAL- No lease issued under this Act may be sold, exchanged, assigned, sublet, or otherwise transferred except with the approval of the Secretary.
      (2) CONDITION FOR APPROVAL- Before granting any approval under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consult with, and give due consideration to the opinion of, the Attorney General.

SEC. 6. LEASE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

    (a) In General- An oil or gas lease issued pursuant to this Act shall--
      (1) provide for the payment of a royalty of not less than 12 1/2 percent of the quantity or value of the production removed or sold from the lease, as determined by the Secretary in accordance with regulations applicable to other Federal oil and gas leases;
      (2) provide that the Secretary, after consultation with the State of Alaska, North Slope Borough, Alaska, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, may close, on a seasonal basis, such portions of the Western Coastal Plain to exploratory drilling activities as are necessary to protect caribou calving areas and other species of fish and wildlife;
      (3) require that each lessee of land within the Western Coastal Plain shall be fully responsible and liable for the reclamation of land within the Western Coastal Plain and any other Federal land that is adversely affected in connection with exploration activities conducted under the lease and within the Western Coastal Plain by the lessee or by any of the subcontractors or agents of the lessee;
      (4) provide that the lessee may not delegate or convey, by contract or otherwise, the reclamation responsibility and liability described in paragraph (3) to another person without the express written approval of the Secretary;
      (5) contain terms and conditions relating to protection of fish and wildlife, fish and wildlife habitat, subsistence resources, and the environment as required under section 3(a)(2); and
      (6) provide that each lessee, and each agent and contractor of a lessee, shall use the best efforts of the lessee to provide a fair share of employment and contracting for Alaska Natives and Alaska Native Corporations from throughout the State, as determined by the level of obligation previously agreed to in the Federal Agreement.
    (b) Project Labor Agreements- The Secretary, as a term and condition of each lease under this Act, and in recognizing the proprietary interest of the Federal Government in labor stability and in the ability of construction labor and management to meet the particular needs and conditions of projects to be developed under the leases issued pursuant to this Act (including the special concerns of the parties to those leases), shall require that each lessee, and each agent and contractor of a lessee, under this Act negotiate to obtain a project labor agreement for the employment of laborers and mechanics on production, maintenance, and construction under the lease.

SEC. 7. FEDERAL AND STATE DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUES.

    (a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, of the amount of bonus, rental, and royalty revenues from oil and gas leasing and operations authorized by this Act--
      (1) 50 percent shall be paid to the State of Alaska; and
      (2) the balance shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States.
    (b) Payments to Alaska- Payments to the State of Alaska under this section shall be made on a monthly basis.

SEC. 8. CONVEYANCE.

    Notwithstanding section 1302(h)(2) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3192(h)(2)), to remove any cloud on title to land, and to clarify land ownership patterns in the Coastal Plain, the Secretary shall--
      (1) to the extent necessary to fulfill the entitlement of the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation under sections 12 and 14 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1611, 1613), as determined by the Secretary, convey to that Corporation the surface estate of the land described in paragraph (1) of Public Land Order 6959, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement between the Secretary, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation, dated January 22, 1993; and
      (2) convey to the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation the remaining subsurface estate to which that Corporation is entitled under the agreement between that corporation and the United States, dated August 9, 1983.