President Trump made head way on nominees this month as the administration recently announced the president’s pick for assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, David Ross. Ross currently serves as the director of the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Environmental Protection Unit. The president’s recent announcement set off a chain reaction of praise for Ross, with a lot of it from the West where water is a hot button issue.
A pair of amendments seeking to block Obama administration regulations and enforcement targeting oil and gas passed the House this week. Sponsoring both amendments, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) sought to push back against a methane rule he insisted was a “job-killing regulation” and a social cost of carbon model he said could “easily be manipulated.”
The state of New Mexico led the way for a half dozen states across the West holding quarterly lease sales on Bureau of Land Management public lands over the last week. BLM New Mexico’s quarterly sale, held September 7, produced revenues of nearly $131 million for 61 parcels located in five counties in the Permian Basin, located in the southeast portion of the state.
A pair of environmental groups filed a lawsuit this week against the Bureau of Land Management, accusing the agency’s oil and gas lease sales in Nevada this past June of sidestepping environmental regulations and “surrendering public lands to oil companies.” The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sierra Club launched the suit Monday.
Three frontrunners have emerged as potential Trump administration picks to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8 office based in Denver. Todd Parfitt, Patrick Davis, and Doug Benevento have been named by E&E News or confirmed by multiple industry sources to be under consideration for the top EPA job covering Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North and South Dakota, and 27 Tribal Nations.
After an appeals court in Washington, D.C. blocked EPA’s efforts to delay an Obama-era methane rule, eight Senate Democrats sent a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt demanding information on his plans to enforce EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for methane emissions from oil and gas sites on a “case by case” basis. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) joined Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on the letter. Udall and Bennet represent the 7th and 8th states in totally energy production, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Eliminating the permitting backlog facing the Department of Interior for oil and gas drilling is a top priority for Joseph Balash, nominated by Trump to help lead the land and minerals management office. More than 2,800 outstanding Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) remained in a January 31, 2017 survey of DOI records.