Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hinchey reveals hit list. It’s called EPACT.

He would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t much care for the oil and gas industry. So it was hardly surprising that Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY), when it was his turn to speak to US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on May 13, started by congratulating the secretary for canceling 77 leases the US Bureau of Land Management sold in its Dec. 18 Utah lease sale.

Hinchey didn’t stop there. He said that he supports the provisions in the Obama administration’s proposed federal budget that would remove or reduce oil and gas incentives. Many of these were part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which included many provisions he consider damaging and destructive.

He urged Salazar to work to reverse EPACT Section 390, which he said categorically excludes oil and gas producers from having to prepare analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act and has led to a record number of drilling permits being issued.

“That categorical exclusion is particularly important,” Hinchey said, adding that the Government Accountability Office is examining it and could issue a report on it by the end of this summer. Salazar responded that he hadn’t looked at the categorical exclusion provision yet, but assured Hinchey that he would.


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