WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and HEAT Co-Chairs Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) led a joint letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary David Bernhardt requesting DOI to expedite the royalty relief process to protect jobs, keep businesses afloat, and ensure America is still the dominant energy producer once we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Under the Trump Administration, America has become energy dominant. This achievement has made America more secure, resulted in lower energy prices for families and small businesses, and created thousands of good-paying American jobs,” the letter reads. “Your leadership has been integral to this progress, as well as efforts to lead the industry through the current crisis, and we hope that you will use every tool at your disposal – including expedited royalty relief on federal lands and waters – to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t result in a further crippling of America’s oil, natural gas, and coal sectors. We must ensure that when our country emerges from this pandemic, America will continue to be the dominant energy producer in the world.”

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“We appreciate the work you have done to encourage energy producers, both onshore and offshore, to apply for royalty relief on a lease-by-lease basis. However, we encourage you to take additional action to streamline and expedite this process as soon as possible. We are concerned that the current process is unnecessarily onerous and lacks the clarity needed to provide swift relief. We urge you to consider options like allowing a company to “batch” a series of leases in a singular application and setting a timeline by which applications must be acted upon by the agencies. Further, it is our understanding that the offshore royalty relief guidance narrows what can be used as an “allowable expense” when determining if a lease is entitled to royalty relief. We urge you to define such expenses in a manner consistent with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. While the current process is a good first step, we would like to work with you to implement these additional reforms to help keep businesses afloat.”

The letter is being sent to Interior Secretary Bernhardt to emphasize the unprecedented scenario facing domestic energy producers due to COVID-19 and the recent global oil price war, and the impact that these dire circumstances have on the thousands of small businesses and suppliers who rely on America’s oil, natural gas, and coal sectors. The Trump Administration has helped America achieve energy dominance, resulting in cheaper energy for American families, high-paying jobs, a resurgence in domestic manufacturing and a strengthened geo-political position. Expediting the royalty relief process will help America remain energy dominant and will limit the negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has on American energy producers.

Read the full letter here.

The letter was signed by 60 Members including Republican Whip and HEAT Co-Chair Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), HEAT Co-Chairs Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Randy K. Weber (R-Texas), Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-Ariz.), Greg Pence (R-Ind.), David P. Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Carol D. Miller (R-W. Va.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Garret Graves (R-La.), Rick W. Allen (R-Ga.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas), French Hill (R-Ark.), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), John Joyce, M.D. (R-Pa.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-La.), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Michael T. McCaul (R-Texas), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas), Steven M. Palazzo (R-Miss.), Roger Williams (R-Texas), Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Ron Estes (R-Kan.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Alex X. Mooney (R-W. Va.), and David B. McKinley, P.E. (W. Va.).