FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans introduced legislation Wednesday that they said would remove barriers slowing down oil and gas permitting on federal lands and, as a result, lead to lower gasoline prices for Americans.

The American Energy Act — which was introduced by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and cosponsored by 12 fellow Republicans — is designed to give energy companies increased certainty in the federal permitting process for oil and gas drilling in an effort to boost production and lower energy prices. Boebert said her bill would counter efforts from the Biden administration to introduce red tape and stifle production.

"The Biden administration is colluding with Green New Deal extremists to slow down energy leasing, clog up the bureaucratic pipeline, and threaten American energy producers with frivolous lawsuits," Boebert said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

"My American Energy Act cuts red tape to unleash American energy by extending the term of APDs from two years to four years to reduce unnecessary paperwork, ensuring agencies process permits under a valid existing lease regardless of any unrelated civil action, and by prohibiting activist judges from unilaterally vacating valid energy leases." 

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Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., delivers remarks in the House chamber on Jan. 5. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The legislation mainly focuses on ensuring that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an Interior Department subagency tasked with managing federal lands, approves applications for permits to drill (APD) in a timely fashion. Oil and gas companies are required to file an APD once they identify a deposit on a lease that can be tapped for resources.

The Biden administration has been accused of purposely delaying APDs in an effort to prevent fossil fuel extraction. According to BLM data, there were 4,896 pending APDs on federal lands and another 179 on Indian property as of Jan. 31. 

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And, according to Boebert's office, permitting times have increased from an average of 94 days in June 2019 to 182 days under the Biden administration last year. During fiscal year 2022, the BLM an average of 233 drilling permits per month while it approved 400 drilling permits per month in fiscal year 2020.

"In short, H.R. 1067 will help reduce gas prices by providing certainty for responsible energy production and preventing baseless litigation," Boebert continued. "With the price at the pump skyrocketing and the international energy market destabilizing, the world needs American energy now more than ever."

While gasoline prices have fallen from their all-time high of more than $5 per gallon in June, they remain about 45% higher than when President Biden took office in January 2021. 

An oil worker walks toward a drill rig in Loving County, Texas, on Nov. 22, 2019. (Reuters/Angus Mordant)

Oil production on federal lands, meanwhile, fell to 12.28 million barrels per day in November, the latest month with data. Production peaked at 13 million barrels a day under the Trump administration.

"For over two years, the Biden administration has slow-walked oil and gas permits, ultimately driving up energy costs for the American people," said Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands. "It doesn’t have to be this way, and I thank Congresswoman Boebert for leading legislation to speed up the permitting process from frivolous lawsuits."

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The American Energy Act also increases the maximum length companies can drill under an APD from two years to four years. In addition, it requires courts to remand lease sale environmental reviews back to agencies to remedy problems when necessary, blocking federal judges from vacating entire lease sales.

Drilling permits are often held up in court as a result of litigation from environmental groups. The Western Energy Alliance, a trade group that represents 200 producers that operate in more than 10 western states, is currently defending thousands of leases in federal court.

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden speaks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 3. The Biden administration has been accused of slow-walking oil and gas drilling permits.  (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

"Western Energy Alliance strongly supports Rep. Boebert’s bill to add certainty to the federal oil and natural gas permitting process," Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma said in a statement. "The West Slope of Colorado is held back economically because of uncertainty on federal lands, which make up the majority of production in her district."

"The Biden Administration has been increasing that uncertainty by threatening to cancel permits after only two years," she continued. "In addition, environmental groups litigate any leases sold in an attempt to convince judges to cancel them on the basis of incomplete NEPA."

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Heritage Action, Americans for Limited Government, U.S. Oil and Gas Association, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, New Mexico Business Coalition and OQ Resources also endorsed the legislation Wednesday.

In addition to Boebert and Tiffany, Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Eric Burlison, R-Mo., Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Barry Moore, R-Ala., Troy Nehls, R-Texas, Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., Pete Stauber, R-Minn., Ben Cline, R-Va., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, cosponsored the legislation.