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Photo credit: Senate Budget Committee

With the Senate potentially voting this week on a measure that will overturn a rule targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands, Washington, D.C., media have reported that some key Western lawmakers remain on the fence. But follow-up inquiries by Western Wire tell a different story: There is strong support in the West for repealing the Obama administration’s last-minute “venting and flaring” rule.

Photo credit: U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch

Senators from the West introduced legislation today that would shield states from redundant regulations on hydraulic fracturing from federal agencies. The Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (S.316), sponsored by senators in Utah and Wyoming, recognizes that all states with significant oil and gas development already have adequate regulations in place for hydraulic fracturing.

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to repeal the Obama administration’s planning policy for federal lands, with the support of many Western stakeholders, including the agriculture sector. Farmers across the country had sounded the alarm over the “significant departure from the historical way local governments have been involved in BLM decision making,” as farm bureaus in states like California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington wrote in a Jan. 24 letter to Congressional leaders.

Photo credit: U.S. Sen. John Barrasso

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will grant the final permit needed for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline that which will transport oil from North Dakota to Illinois. “President Trump has promised to put Americans back to work and this is an important step in fulfilling that promise,” said U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, in a statement released this afternoon.

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Western lawmakers in Congress this week are preparing to repeal the Obama administration’s controversial land-use planning policy for federal lands known as “Planning 2.0.” Going into the debate, they have a powerful ally – the National Association of Counties, which is working with a coalition of local officials from Western states, public lands groups and the agriculture sector “to ensure BLM’s Planning 2.0 rule does not go into effect,” the group said in a statement.

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted this morning to overturn a last-minute Obama administration rule targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands. In the lead up to the vote, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), which represents the nation’s steel manufacturers, called for the rule to be overturned. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox (R) also endorsed the CRA measure ahead of the vote.

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Plans to repeal a last-minute Obama administration rule targeting oil and natural gas development on public and tribal lands are winning the support of tribal, business and local leaders in Colorado. The methane regulation, finalized by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management after the 2016 election, has been controversial across the West. “BLM’s rule is unnecessary and would further negatively impact the Tribe’s energy development revenue,” Clement Frost, chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, told Western Wire.