This bill would repeal requirements regarding the development of privately-owned oil and gas deposits on certain lands within the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. In 2007, the Forest Service imposed a moratorium on granting a “Notice to Proceed” to owners of mineral rights who submitted 60-day notices to drilling plans, declaring a moratorium while an environmental review could be carried out. A federal district court ruled against the Forest Service in 2009 and again on appeal in 2013, rejecting the Forest Service’s authority to restrict drilling. This bill would clarify the Forest Service’s role under the rulings and reaffirm the legal supremacy of privately-held mineral rights.
This bill would also repeal a provision of current law that allows the Forest Service to sell any timber removed to make way for oil and gas development directly to the company developing the resources.