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Washington, D.C. March 9, 2021– Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today hailed the announcement of a March 25 Department of the Interior forum with a variety of labor, economic justice, and environmental advocates on the future of federal fossil fuel policies. The event, which will also include industry representatives, will help chart a course for the development of an interim Biden administration report on proposed reforms to fossil fuel laws and regulations that will likely be published this summer.

Grijalva pointed to findings from today’s recently concluded Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing, titled Modernizing Energy Development Laws for the Benefit of Taxpayers, Communities, and the Environment, underscoring the need to:

  • increase oil and gas royalty rates to guarantee a fair public return for industry use of public resources;
  • prevent avoidable carbon and methane emissions;
  • transition to a more economically and environmentally forward-looking energy mix; and
  • protect communities from pollution and end industry’s habit of leaving taxpayers to cover the cleanup bill

 “The time is right to update America’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry to more accurately reflect modern economic and environmental thinking,” Grijalva said today. “This forum is the kind of realistic, all-hands-on-deck approach to solving problems that’s been missing for the last four years and that we should expect to see more of under President Biden. We just heard at today’s hearing, not for the first time, how badly the fossil fuel industry needs reforms and what’s at stake if we keep ignoring the economic and environmental warning bells. I applaud the Interior Department for giving this the attention it demands.”

Today’s hearing focused on five bills:

  • H.R. 1492 (Rep. Diana DeGette), Methane Waste Prevention Act
  • H.R.1503 (Rep. Mike Levin), Restoring Community Input and Public Protections in Oil and Gas Leasing Act
  • H.R. 1505 (Rep. Alan Lowenthal), Bonding Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act
  • H.R. 1506 (Rep. Alan Lowenthal), Transparency in Energy Production Act
  • H.R. 1517 (Rep. Katie Porter), Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act

With some Republican members agreeing today that fixes are overdue, Grijalva said, the Committee is ready to advance legislative solutions that protect taxpayers and the environment as soon as possible.