Republican firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert this week began spearheading a package of amendments that could both gut landmark climate legislation and enrich her husband’s fossil fuel business.
During the first markup of Democrats’ reconciliation bill, the first-term Colorado congresswoman authored several initiatives designed to block higher fees for drilling on federal lands and on methane emissions.
Terra Energy Partners, a Houston-based oil and gas company that drills on federal lands, paid Boebert’s husband, Jayson, roughly $940,000 in 2019 and 2020 as a consultant, according to her latest financial disclosure report. Boebert failed to disclose her husband’s 2019 work for Terra Energy Partners in her congressional financial disclosure form filed last year.
Last month, Terra Energy told The Colorado Sun that Boebert’s husband “has provided contract drilling services as an on-site drilling foreman to Terra since 2017.”
Terra Energy has paid Jayson Boebert through a consulting company, Boebert Consulting. Lauren Boebert has her own ties to the company: She was previously named as the registered agent of an LLC that is the current registered agent for Boebert Consulting in Colorado corporate records.
Boebert’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the amendments.
As of last year, 134 Members of Congress owned up to $93 million of stock in fossil fuel corporations. Boebert’s ties to the industry are among the most direct of any lawmaker in Congress.
Leading The Assault On Climate Legislation
Since winning office in 2020, Boebert has helped fossil fuel industry lobbyists push measures to weaken climate policy. Her latest amendments emerged in the House Natural Resources Committee, which is writing climate- and energy-related portions of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion infrastructure reconciliation package.
All of the amendments were voted down, but they could resurface when the infrastructure bill moves to the House floor and the Senate.
One of Boebert’s amendments would have eliminated a provision of the legislation subjecting fossil fuel companies to new fees when their fracking operations emit methane.
Boebert also introduced three separate amendments to block another part of the bill that would increase royalties on onshore oil and gas drilling on federal land from 12.5 to 20 percent, create new bonding requirements for oil and gas companies (ensuring they have money to clean up abandoned infrastructure in the case of bankruptcy), and levy fines on companies that do not clean up abandoned wells.
Amendments Coincide With Company’s New Drilling Leases
Terra Energy operates some of its drilling operations on federal lands.
In 2018, the company pushed to drill on public lands in Western Colorado. Last week, the Bureau of Land Management approved new natural gas drilling leases for the company on federal land in Western Colorado. The company and its subsidiaries own more than 5,500 natural gas wells in Boebert’s district. Terra Energy ranks fourth in total methane emissions among U.S. oil and gas companies.
Earlier this year, Boebert introduced legislation to reverse President Joe Biden’s executive order halting new leases for oil and gas drilling on federal land. Despite the moratorium on new leases, the administration has approved drilling permits on already-leased public land at a faster rate than any president since George W. Bush.
A federal judge struck down Biden’s leasing moratorium this summer, and while the administration is appealing the ruling, in the meantime, it has reopened the leasing process.
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