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Local leaders in western states are stepping up their criticism of a last-minute regulation from the Obama administration targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands. The Bureau of Land Management regulation, known as the “venting and flaring” rule, faces a repeal vote in the U.S. Senate as early as next week. The venting and flaring rule is “best suited for the trash can, not Utah’s public lands,” Grand County Council member Curtis Wells told Western Wire.
The new EPA greenhouse gas inventory is particularly timely, because Congress is weighing whether to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Obama administration’s “venting and flaring” rule. The rule purports to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas production on federal public lands.
Oklahoma’s leading business group is adding its support to the repeal of a late-term Obama administration rule targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands amid media reports that senators remain undecided on the issue. “The US House did the right thing by rejecting this unnecessary and over reaching regulation and we strongly urge the Senate to do the same,” Fred Morgan, president and chief executive officer of the State Chamber of Oklahoma, said in a statement to Western Wire.
Representatives of the construction industry told a U.S. House hearing yesterday that executive actions facilitating energy infrastructure projects, signed by President Donald Trump three weeks ago, have already created thousands of jobs. “From my personal experience, I can report that request for quotes and opportunities have kept my phone ringing in the few short weeks since the EOs [Executive Orders] were signed,” said Rex Ferry, a business owner representing the National Electrical Contractors Association.
“[T]his study’s conclusions are misleading,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement. The dispute between Colorado health officials goes back years. In 2014, Wolk issued a similar statement to debunk the findings of another paper that tried to blame birth defects in Colorado on oil and natural gas development.
More than 40 years after becoming law, the Endangered Species Act has become almost unworkable for state and local officials in the West and needs to be reformed, former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) told a U.S. Senate hearing today. “Over time, the mix of regulations, court decisions, policy guidance and individual agency actions by Presidential administrations of different but still well intentioned views have created a nearly unworkable system,” Freudenthal said in written testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The Congressional Review Act disapproval motion, passed by the U.S. House and now before the Senate, will save thousands of jobs that are supported by America’s domestic energy industry, including independent energy producers — the small, family-run businesses that are most heavily impacted by the BLM’s venting and flaring rule. Repealing the rule will also save vital streams of revenue for federal, state, and local governments that are used to support schools, infrastructure and other important services.