Despite the outcome of the 2016 election, the Sierra Club is leading a new charge in the nation’s capital to ban oil, natural gas and coal development on federal lands. But the reintroduction of the Keep It In the Ground Act this week has drawn attention to the first version of the bill, introduced in 2015, and an embarrassing gaffe from the Sierra Club’s president, Aaron Mair. The Sierra Club is “pushing the argument to leave it all in the ground, the argument of none-of-the-above,” Mair said during a press conference. But his comments have been largely ignored and unreported until now.
Leaders of Colorado’s energy industry are warning that a recent appeals court decision in favor of anti-oil and gas activists could undermine one of the state’s most important economic sectors. The case was brought by activists, who had demanded that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) suspend issuing permits for oil and natural gas projects unless it could be demonstrated that drilling “does not adversely impact human health and does not contribute to climate change.”
Under former president Barack Obama, federal restrictions on fossil fuels would have forced “broad and transformative changes to the electricity industry,” the American Public Power Association said. APPA represents thousands of municipal, state-owned and non-profit power companies, such as the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency and the Farmington, N.M. Electric Utility System. “[S]tates should maintain the authority to plan and implement generation and energy policies that are suitable for their circumstances,” APPA said.
The Trump White House today issued a new executive order to roll back the Obama administration’s climate agenda, including a number of regulations targeting energy producers in the West. The “energy independence” order calls for a review of the so-called Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit the amount of coal and natural gas states use to meet their energy needs. The order also takes aim at new federal methane restrictions on oil and natural gas development, which have been criticized for overlapping and conflicting with existing state regulations. And the Trump administration plans to lift a moratorium on new coal leases that was imposed across millions of acres of federal land by the Obama administration.
Representatives from the agriculture and energy sectors are celebrating the repeal of the Obama administration’s last-minute overhaul of planning on federal lands. President Donald Trump signed the repeal measure – a disapproval motion under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) – yesterday. The CRA motion targeted “Planning 2.0,” a regulation finalized in December by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Critics warned the planning regulation would centralize more decision-making authority at BLM headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the detriment of western states.
A new executive order from the Trump White House, to be unveiled tomorrow, will start to unwind a controversial regulation from the Obama administration which targeted the use of coal and natural gas in state electricity markets. “We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment,” said Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Power Plan, or CPP, was developed after President Barack Obama’s preferred program, legislation establishing a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide, failed to pass a Congress controlled by Democrats in 2010. It was later stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court pending a series of legal challenges.
Elected officials and business leaders from states along the route of the Keystone XL pipeline have welcomed news of the project’s federal approval – some eight years after the permitting process began. “This is a victory for all of us who rely on oil to heat our homes, fuel our cars, and power our tractors, and pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport oil,” South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) said. The South Dakota governor, said he respected the views of those who still oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, but also called for restraint. “I hope we will all seek to exercise our First Amendment rights peacefully, and respect the right of others to do likewise.”