August 4, 2010 - House CLEAR Act; Monhegan energy

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One of the dominant forms of energy on Monhegan Island, Maine: propane tanks.  About 10 miles offshore, Monhegan does not have any electric cables to the mainland, relying instead on a 300-kilowatt diesel generator. For home heating, cooking, lighting and even refrigeration, many island residents still use propane.  Monhegan is also considering wind resources.

On July 30, 2010, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act by a vote of 209 to 193.  Much of CLEAR came from the previous Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R. 5626) (things like requiring blowout preventers, CEO accountability, etc.)

CLEAR also does the following:

  • Shifts around Dept of Interior agencies (abolishes the Minerals Management Service)
  • Reforms Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program to protect environment and safety, and to repeal certain royalty relief and royalty-in-kind provisions
  • Reforms oil and gas royalties.
  • Full funding for the Land and Water Conservation and Historic Preservation Funds.
  • Alternative energy development, specifically leasing federal land for commercial wind and solar leasing program.  The Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service can lease land for commercial wind and solar projects.  It has a transmission savings provision ("Nothing in this title shall affect the authority of a Federal agency to issue right-of-way grants for electric transmission facilities.")
  • Coordination and planning.  Better interagency coordination on the use of Federal energy resources.
  • Geothemal production expansion.
  • Conservation fee on all oil and gas leases on Federal onshore and offshore lands.  $2 per barrel of oil, 20 cents per million Btu of gas, sunsetting in 2021.

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