Murkowski Applauds House Passage of Legislation to Improve Offshore Permitting Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today congratulated the House of Representatives on passage of legislation to improve permitting of offshore oil and natural gas activity in Alaska and elsewhere.

The House passed H.R. 2021, The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, introduced by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-CO, by a vote of 253-166, with 23 Democrats supporting the legislation.

“When we have companies that have to wait years to get a permit from the EPA, it’s clear that the current system is not working,” Murkowski said. “The changes approved last night by the House will provide both the EPA and those companies applying for permits a level of certainty about the agency’s ability to move forward.”

Murkowski has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The House and Senate versions of the legislation would do the following:

  • Amend current law to require air-emission impacts to be measured onshore – not offshore – and clarify that any drilling vessel is regulated as a stationary source of emissions once drilling starts;
  • Ensure that the EPA’s internal appeals board no longer claims authority to consider or invalidate permits for offshore exploration, allowing instead for review in federal court;
  • Require EPA to grant or deny a permit within six months of the filing of a completed application. 

The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Murkowski is also working with the Republican leadership on finding the best path to bring the bill to the Senate floor.

The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Sens. James Inhofe, R-OK; John Barrasso, R-WY; Rob Portman, R-OH; John Hoeven, R-ND; John Cornyn, R-TX; Roy Blunt, R-MO; Dan Coats, R-IN; Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX; Bob Corker, R-TN; John Thune, R-SD; Richard Lugar, R-IN; Mark Begich, D-AK; and Mary Landrieu, D-LA.