Senate continuing resolution provides new money for drilling inspections

Sens. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Five unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist MORE (D-La.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska) have raised objections to the provision, arguing it would further delay offshore drilling permitting. But the Interior Department has said the extension is necessary to adequately review exploration plans and to ensure that projects meet the tougher standards imposed in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.

BOEMRE spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz said in an e-mail, “Thirty [days] … was never a sufficient time frame to conduct these reviews, and in light of the new safety and environmental protection requirements and policies the current time limitation is even less appropriate.”

A $1.1 trillion Senate omnibus appropriations bill, which was pulled by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) last week because it lacked support among Senate Republicans, included an increase in fees imposed on oil companies for inspections. The Senate continuing resolution does not include the increase in fees.

The Senate CR also includes language sought by Reid and other Nevada lawmakers that ensures counties receive a 25 percent share of royalties and other revenues from geothermal projects.
 
A sweeping 2005 energy law allowed the revenue-sharing, but a fiscal 2010 Interior Department spending law had reversed it.

The continuing resolution would fund the government through the beginning of March.

Ben Geman contributed.