The House-passed bill includes Boebert’s actions blocking BLM reforms to oil and gas and local leasing plans | News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed an appropriations bill that includes amendments requested by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert that would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from moving forward with reforms to the oil and gas leasing program and with adjustments to the amount of land available for oil and gas leasing domestically.

The amendments were only two of eight amendments successfully sought by Boebert that were included in the FY 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, her office said in a news release.

Meanwhile, the BLM also proposes to close nearly 1 million acres within the jurisdiction of its Grand Junction field office for future oil and gas leasing, along with 568,300 acres managed by the Colorado River Valley Field Office headquartered in Sylt. It proposes the sharp reductions in space available for lease under the two offices’ resource management plans after reconsidering the management plans in the wake of legal challenges brought by environmental groups and a judge’s ruling in one of the cases.

“BLM’s seizure of 1.6 million acres of land is another blatant transgression aimed at cannibalizing the fossil fuel industry, increasing gas prices, and forcing a green transition,” Boebert’s office said in its Friday news release.

“Reliable, affordable energy should be a bipartisan effort, and we are pleased to see the Congresswoman’s efforts to secure that for the region and the state,” Chelsea Mira, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said in an email Friday. Western Colorado produces some of the cleanest energy molecules and our natural gas resources provide great jobs and important revenues for our communities and ensure America’s energy independence. We hope to see this Congress continue this bipartisan work to pressure the Biden administration and lower energy and grocery costs for our families in Western Colorado.

Laura Bloom, of the Western Colorado Citizens Alliance group, expressed disappointment in Boebert’s actions.

“Although these decisions were made at the legislative level, they have far-reaching consequences for our environment, our communities and our future,” she said. “Representative Boebert’s priorities, which place energy interests above the health and well-being of her constituents, raise significant concerns. Ironically, her commitment to limited government and tax cuts belies the fiscal impact of her decisions. We estimate that these measures will cost Coloradans $10 million over the next 10 years , an amazing amount that we believe could be better allocated to the most pressing needs.

She said expenses would result from the additional cost of oil and gas site cleanups if interconnection repairs did not occur.

Bloom expressed hope that U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, both Democrats from Colorado, could help prevent Boebert’s measures from being passed through the Senate. Both recently joined some other senators in writing a letter to the Biden administration in support of BLM’s oil and gas bond reforms.

This week, the White House issued a statement pledging to veto the appropriations bill. It will provide 35% less funding to relevant agencies than was approved for fiscal year 2023.

Among Boebert’s other amendments to the bill are those that would prevent federal agencies from finalizing and implementing proposed Endangered Species Act rules that undermine and reverse rules passed by the Trump administration.

According to Boebert’s office, a number of requests made by the congresswoman were also included in the underlying bill, including:

$1.75 million for water treatment plant projects in Gunnison and Sylt;

$2 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wolf Livestock Loss Demonstration Program to compensate ranchers and farmers for livestock killed by gray wolves.

Require the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the 2020 final rule removing the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered wildlife. Boebert has also introduced standalone legislation on the issue.

Last year, a federal judge struck down the 2020 rule and restored Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf in the lower 48 states, except for the northern Rockies, where Congress eliminated protections for wolves in 2011.

(Tags for translation)Politics

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