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Representatives of a national “ban fracking” activist group attempted to organize a rally to pressure U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on environmental policy but failed to draw much of a crowd. The event, held outside Sen. Bennet’s Denver office yesterday, was organized by Food & Water Watch and 350.org, two East Coast activist groups campaigning to ban oil and natural gas development in Colorado and around the country.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has joined a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the Obama administration’s “venting and flaring” rule, issued late last year, which targets oil and natural gas development on federal lands. Paxton’s intervention means four states – Texas, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana – are now in federal court trying to strike down the rule imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in November. Western officials are also leading a separate effort to repeal the venting and flaring rule in Congress. “This is yet another case of gross federal overreach,” Paxton said in a statement to Western Wire.
Environmental activist groups are pulling out all the stops to save the Obama administration’s last-minute “venting and flaring” rule, which targets oil and natural gas development on federal lands. Unfortunately for them, however, that means shining a spotlight on their real agenda and who pays for it. And it turns out groups arguing in favor of the methane rule, claiming it will increase natural gas production and tax revenues, have close ties to anti-oil and gas organizations and the “keep it in the ground” campaign.
New Mexico business leaders are pushing back against a campaign led by environmental activists to save a last-minute regulation from the Obama administration targeting oil and natural development. The New Mexico Business Coalition says the “venting and flaring” rule imposed late last year “clouds the regulatory environment” for one of the state’s most important industries. The rule, finalized by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) two months before President Barack Obama left office, adds to existing state and federal regulations that limit methane emissions. “An ax, not a scalpel, is needed on BLM’s venting and flaring rule,” the group says.
In a victory for local officials and energy producers in the West, the Trump administration confirmed this week that a federal regulation for hydraulic fracturing on public lands won’t be imposed on top of existing state rules that already apply. The federal hydraulic fracturing regulation, issued by U.S. Bureau of Land Management two years ago during the Obama administration, was struck down by a federal judge in 2016. Obama officials appealed, but this week the Trump administration told the court it would no longer contest the case and plans to withdraw the regulation.
For years, anti-oil and natural gas groups like 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club urged President Barack Obama to “keep it in the ground.” Well, it turns out the former president actually did a pretty good job for these groups. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently released its data for fiscal year 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration. When you compare those numbers to the data from 2008, the year before President Obama took office, the contrast is compelling.
After a disastrous 2016 election, environmental activists are now trying to salvage as many Obama administration regulations as they can, including a series of last-minute actions targeting federal lands in western states. And to create the appearance of support for their agenda, the activists are pitching one of the directors of a Colorado environmental group as an impartial former regulator.