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Category Archives: Legislation

2017–2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program

Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management: 2017–2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program – “The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for administering the leasing program for oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and developing a five-year schedule of lease sales designed to “best meet national energy needs for the five- year period following [the schedule’s] approval….” Section 18 of the OCS Lands Act, 43 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1344. On January 29, 2015, BOEM published the 2017–2022 Draft Proposed Program (DPP), the first stage of lease sale schedule development…The Proposed Program is the second of three proposals required to develop the 2017–2022 Program, and was informed by both the DPP analysis and the public comments received to date. Included in this Proposed Program is an analysis of the lease sale options identified by the Secretary in the DPP as feasible for potential inclusion in an approved Program. The development of the The Five-Year Program is an important component of the President’s comprehensive energy strategy to allow for safe and responsible domestic oil and natural gas production as a means to support economic growth and job creation, and enhance energy security. In 2014, the United States (U.S.) produced 49 quadrillion British thermal units (Btus) of oil and gas, the highest total level of oil and gas production in U.S. history. Even as the U.S. experiences a rapid increase in unconventional onshore oil and gas production, OCS production has been and will continue to be an important source of oil and gas for decades to come. While offshore oil and gas exploration and development will never be totally risk-free,the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI) has made, and is continuing to make, substantial reforms to improve the safety and environmental protection of OCS oil and gas activity since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill. Working with a host of stakeholders, USDOI has developed and implemented reforms and improvements designed to reduce the risk of another loss of well control in our oceans, and enhance our collective ability to respond to such incidents. With strong regulatory oversight and appropriate measures to protect human safety and the environment, offshore oil and gas development can be conducted safely and responsibly…”

  • See also via the IB Times: – Buried in the BOEM report’s fine print, though, were footnotes shedding light on how the bureau came to its conclusions: it used studies from the same fossil fuel industry that could benefit from the expansion. Eight of the nine economic analyses cited by government regulators in their report were produced by authors or organizations with links to the fossil fuel industry — which has been lobbying the federal government on drilling issues in the lead-up to a decision…the fossil fuel industry’s links to the studies underscored concerns about so-called cognitive capture: the growing effort by industries to quietly shape the basic research on which public policies are predicated…In the months before the controversial move, fossil fuel companies such as the Shell Oil unit of Royal Dutch Shell and industry associations such as the American Petroleum Institute (API) lobbied the federal government on drilling, alongside an advocacy group that has links to Koch Industries. Although the government backed off a plan to open up drilling off the Atlantic coast of the U.S. Southeast, the move to expand drilling in the Gulf and near Alaska was a win for the oil and gas industry. However, the decision in March prompted protests both fromnational environmental groups concerned about the prospect of increased carbon emissions and from local activists in the Gulf Coast region who are worried about the possibility of new spills…”

EFF – House Advances Email Privacy Act, Setting the Stage for Vital Privacy Reform

Sophia Cope – EFF: “The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) today, which would require the government to get a probable cause warrant from a judge before obtaining private communications and documents stored online with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. The bill provides a long-overdue update to theContinue Reading

Public Advocate Appointed by FISA Court Declares PRISM Surveillance Unconstitutional

TechDirt: “On [April 19, 2016], the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released some redacted versions of three previously secret FISA Court rulings. There are a few interesting things in them, but one notable point, found in a ruling from last November regarding the NSA’s 702 PRISM program, is that the FISC took advantageContinue Reading

Data Act: Progress Made but Significant Challenges Must Be Addressed

Data Act: Progress Made but Significant Challenges Must Be Addressed to Ensure Full and Effective Implementation, GAO-16-556T: Published: Apr 19, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2016. “The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) have taken some significant steps toward implementing the key provisions of the Digital Accountability andContinue Reading

Earth Day – April 22 – Earth Day Network

“Earth Day Network’s mission is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to theContinue Reading

Electionline – election reform news and information

“electionline.org is the nation’s only nonpartisan, non-advocacy clearinghouse for election reform news and information. It was founded in 2001 by Doug Chapin and supported by a grant to the University of Richmond from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2007 the electionline team formally joined The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of Pew’s transition from privateContinue Reading

9/11 Families, the 28 Pages, and economic threats if Congress passes bill on monetary damages

When returned to home the evening of the 9/11 attack from my office in Washington, DC I joined colleagues throughout the legal community who stayed up for days sharing every bit of information we could obtain about the status of those who worked in the Twin Towers. We continued to post this information for months,Continue Reading

Surveillance of Foreigners Outside the United States Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Via FAS – Surveillance of Foreigners Outside the United States Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Edward C. Liu, Legislative Attorney. April 13, 2016. “After the attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct a Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) to “intercept international communicationsContinue Reading

Microsoft sues DOJ – demands right to disclose when law enforcement seeks customer data

Microsoft v. The United States Department of Justice, USDC Western District of Washington at Seattle – April 14, 2016: “Microsoft brings this case because its customers have a right to know when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails, and because Microsoft has a right to tell them. Yet the Electronic Communications PrivacyContinue Reading

A Peek behind the Curtain of Bank Supervision

Liberty Street Economics Blog: “Since the financial crisis, bank regulatory and supervisory policies have changed dramatically both in the United States (Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) and abroad (Third Basel Accord). While these shifts have occasioned much debate, the discussion surrounding supervision remains limited because most supervisory activity— both the amount ofContinue Reading

Goldman Sachs Agrees to Pay More than $5B in Connection with Sale of Residential Mortgage Backed Securities

DOJ news release, April 11, 2016: “The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, announced today a $5.06 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs related to Goldman’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2005 and 2007.  The resolution announced today requires Goldman to pay $2.385 billionContinue Reading

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress

Written Testimony of CFPB Director Richard Cordray Before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs By Richard Cordray, April 7, 2016. “Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Brown, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress. I appreciate our continuedContinue Reading