Shale Daily / NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report

Group Says House Republicans Have Several Obama-Era Energy Rules in the Crosshairs

A group of Republican House lawmakers from Western states said they plan to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) this week to roll back one -- and possibly more -- rules enacted during the Obama administration, and that a total of 13 regulations should be targeted.

Meanwhile, the Senate appears poised to begin taking up three resolutions that the House passed earlier this month, including one to scrap the venting and flaring rule proposed by the Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management.

According to the Congressional Western Caucus (CWC), Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) will introduce a CRA bill this week to invalidate a final rule introduced last summer by DOI's Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR).

"The ONRR's new rule ostensibly sought to simplify and clarify the process for valuing oil, gas, and coal production on federal and Indian lands in order to provide 'certainty' to industry and to ensure all royalties due to ONRR have been paid," the CWC said on its website. "In fact, it did the opposite. The rule didn't simplify the process, disallows common cost deductions, and added burdensome and redundant reporting requirements."

The CWC said HJ Res. 69, a joint resolution introduced last Tuesday by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), is scheduled to be on the House floor this week. The measure calls for invalidating a final rule created by the DOI and its Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for restricting hunting and wildlife practices on federal lands in Alaska.

Another eight CRA resolutions are waiting in the wings, according to the CWC. One bill, HJ Res. 70, calls for disapproving a rule unveiled last summer by the DOI's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) governing oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.

According to the CWC, the DOI conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the BSEE/BOEM rule and determined that it would cost the oil and gas industry $2.1 billion to comply. The rule would, the group said, add "exorbitant costs to the already billions of dollars needed to acquire leases and responsibly develop in the Arctic."

HJ Res. 70 was introduced Thursday by Young.

The other seven CRA resolutions are:

  • HJ Res. 59 -- introduced on Feb. 1 by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), the resolution calls for disapproving a rule published last month by the Environmental Protection Agency on the safety of facilities that use and distribute hazardous chemicals;
  • HJ Res. 60 -- introduced on Feb. 2 by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) to invalidate a compensatory mitigation policy under the Endangered Species Act;
  • HJ Res. 55 -- to scrap a final rule to amend the ONRR's civil penalty regulations -- introduced on Jan. 31 by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT);
  • HJ Res. 68 -- introduced last Tuesday by Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) to disapprove of a BLM rule over standards of measurement and reporting for natural gas removed or sold from federal and Indian lands;
  • HJ Res. 56 -- to eliminate a BLM rule over onshore oil and gas operations, federal and Indian oil and gas leases, and site security -- introduced on Feb. 1 by Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM);
  • HJ Res. 45 -- introduced on Jan. 30 by Cramer, to disapprove of a FWS rule relating to management of non-federal oil and gas rights; and
  • HJ Res. 46 -- to scrap a final rule from the National Park Service over non-federal oil and gas rights -- introduced on Jan. 30 by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ).

So far, House Republicans have successfully voted to invoke the CRA to invalidate three Obama-era rules.

The House first used the CRA to target the Stream Protection Rule (SPR), which was promulgated by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, another DOI agency. On Feb. 1, the House voted 228-194 to pass HJ Res 38, a resolution introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) to nullify the SPR. The resolution passed the Senate on a 54-45 vote on Feb. 2, and was presented to President Trump four days later.

On Feb. 3, the House invoked the CRA for a second time and passed HJ Res. 36. The resolution, introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), calls for congressional disapproval of the BLM's Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Rule -- also known as the BLM's venting and flaring rule. It passed the House on a 221-191 vote and was received by the Senate on Feb. 3.

Last Tuesday, House lawmakers passed HJ Res. 44 on a 234-186 vote. The resolution, introduced by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), calls for disapproving a BLM rule to revise the resource management planning process, also known as Planning Rule 2.0. The bill was received by the Senate last Wednesday.

"Any changes to the way the BLM manages federal land would have sweeping impacts in Colorado and the West, so it was deeply troubling that the BLM disregarded calls from western counties, farm bureaus, and Congress requesting that the bureau provide an opportunity for meaningful public involvement during the development of its Planning 2.0 rule," Tipton said in a statement.

Recent Articles by Charlie Passut