The House Natural Resources Committee has passed H.R.3534, The Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, by a vote of 27 to 21.
The CLEAR Act is comprehensive legislation to reform federal offshore and onshore energy leasing and their oversight agencies. The version passed by the committee includes five amendments proposed by Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., that address renewable energy licenses and leasing, as well as oil and gas drilling.
According to Inslee, the amendments will grandfather in solar and wind project applications that have been submitted prior to July 1 to ensure current renewable energy projects are not delayed.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, which applauded the inclusion of the amendments, had written to members of Congress to argue that the competitive leasing and royalty provisions in the bill would make solar and wind development on public lands ‘more complex and costly and would substantially reduce the amount of renewable energy development on public lands.’ The group requested that this provision be removed.
The CLEAR Act will replace the current Minerals and Management Service with the Bureau of Energy and Resource Management, which will manage leasing and permitting and conduct necessary environmental studies; the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which will conduct all inspections and investigations related to health, safety and environmental regulations; and the Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR), which will collect all offshore and onshore oil and gas and renewable energy-related revenues.
For a complete version of H.R.3534, click here.