Per Think Progress:
The bill, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), is broad legislation designed to make it much easier for oil and gas companies to obtain permission to drill on public lands. If signed into law, the legislation would automatically approve onshore drilling permits if the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) failed to act on them in 60 days.While there are plenty of nefarious elements to this bill, the House GOP's legislative attempt to circumvent the First Amendment on behalf of oil and gas companies is perhaps its most sinister element. And, perhaps, the element most representative of what this bill truly stands for.
If an individual does not like a proposed drilling project and wanted to oppose it, he or she would have to pay a $5,000 fee to file an official protest.
Particularly when one considers that this bill, in addition to creating the 60-day default, would direct the DOI to open public lands to oil shale drilling, an exceedingly dangerous and destructive process that has been banned since President Herbret Hoover outlawed such drilling.
Such drilling would produce four times more in carbon emissions than the processing of petroleum.
Jessica Goad, research manager of the Center for American Progress’ Public Lands Project has said the process of producing oil shale “takes a large amount of energy and money, as well as 3-5 barrels of water per barrel of oil produced, a dangerous issue in the parched West.” The Natural Resources Defense Council calls it “the dirtiest fuel on the planet.”And what would an individual American have to do in order to protest having such drilling occur in their backyard? Pay a $5,000 fee.
A fee which metaphorically represents the amounts of money oil and gas companies have paid to buy off those politicians willing to bring such a bill to the House floor.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.