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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.
Two lawmakers from North Dakota, the second largest oil-producing state in the nation, are turning up the heat on the U.S. Senate to repeal a last-minute Obama administration regulation targeting energy development on federal lands. At the same time, a national pro-business group is calling on the Senate to act, launching a multi-media advertising campaign targeting North Dakota and five other states.
A Western Wire guest column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal explores the involvement of California billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer in Nevada politics. With Steyer’s help, Democrats won back control of the Nevada Legislature last November after two years of a Republican majority. But four years ago, the last time Democrats controlled the legislature, the debate over energy policy went very differently.