Congress looks to thwart anti-energy left's litigation strategy for stopping drilling and mining

Fuel Fix:

When it comes to expanding U.S. oil and gas production, President Donald Trump has few greater hurdles than litigation from environmental groups that can tie up companies and federal agencies for years.

Now Republicans in Congress are examining ways by which to reduce the delays such litigation can bring to drilling and mining projects on federal lands.

"In reality a legal subindustry has thrived from endless environmental litigation," Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louis., said at a hearing in the House Committee on Natural Resources this week. "Our legal system is an important avenue for citizens seeking redress of wrongs perpetuated by the federal government... however special interests repeatedly exploit our legal system to further their own agendas."

So far House Republicans have not introduced any legislation or made specific recommendations on how the Department of Interior might go about speeding up the legal process. But members of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations heard testimony this week from an attorney that has frequently represented the oil and gas industry and Caroline Lobdell, head of the Western Resources Legal Center, which trains law students for careers representing mining, timber, oil and gas and ranching interests.

Lobdell recommended a series of administrative changes at the Department of Interior, including moves to reduce environmental groups ability to recover attorneys' fees and reducing the practice of putting strict requirements on companies operating on federal lands.

"Plaintiffs love to plumb the depths of voluminous Management Plans to find inflexible standards and required procedures to serve as a foundation for lawsuits to stop agency projects. Every use of the word "shall" in a management plan lifts a plaintiff lawyer's heart," she testified.

Environmental groups have been adamant they plan to use the court system to block or at least slow any action President Trump takes to expand drilling on federal lands.
The goal of the anti-energy left is to slow development of natural resources and drive up costs in hopes of making it uneconomical to drill for oil and gas and produce fossil fuels.  The have become the unwitting ally of the Russian oil oligarchs and OPEC.  They have not reduced consumption at all, merely caused the US to have to import more oil.   The are OPEC's best friend in the US and are the enemy of consumers.

This story shows how the anti-energy left operates ti thwart energy production.


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