Barrasso, Bishop offer CRA resolutions to rescind BLM methane rule

US Sen. John A. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced disapproval resolutions in their respective chambers on Jan. 30 to overturn the US Bureau of Land Management’s rule aimed at limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public and Indian tribal land under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

US Sen. John A. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced disapproval resolutions in their respective chambers on Jan. 30 to overturn the US Bureau of Land Management’s rule aimed at limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public and Indian tribal land under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Then US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell announced the proposed rule on Jan. 22, 2016. It became final in November (OGJ Online, Nov. 16, 2016). The Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance immediately sued in federal court to overturn it. A federal judge denied them and the states of Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana a preliminary injunction in their combined action two weeks ago (OGJ Online, Jan. 17, 2017).

Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, said that it is the job of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the states, not BLM, to regulate air quality.

“Instead of enforcing a duplicative regulation, BLM should use its limited resources to permit natural gas pipelines on federal lands in a timely manner,” he suggested. “Pipelines will help producers capture additional gas and get that gas to market. These projects will also create jobs and provide energy for Americans.”

Said Bishop, “This rule is one of the most egregious abuses of power from the Obama administration designed to shut down responsible energy development on our federal lands. When unelected bureaucrats and ideological aims supersede congressional intent and responsible regulation—as was the case with this rule—Congress has an obligation to act.”

The resolutions are the first of many steps Republican energy leaders will take to cut red tape that is leading to job losses across the country and undercutting US domestic energy resource potential, he indicated.

Barrasso’s legislation, S.J. Res. 11, was cosponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), John Cornyn (Tex.), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), John Hoeven (ND), James N. Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alas.), and Dan Sullivan (Alas.).

In a Jan. 31 letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Ranking Minority Member Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said that the nation’s largest oil and gas trade association strongly supports Bishop’s legislation, H.J. Res. 36, to rescind BLM’s final methane emissions rule.

“This redundant and technically flawed rule will further impede oil and natural gas production on federal land, which already has been declining—down 18% from 2010 to 2015,” Gerard told the two House leaders.

“The rule is a step backwards for US energy policy and all Americans who benefit from domestic energy production,” he declared. “As such, it is important that the House support the disapproval resolution so that we may harness the increased economic opportunity and enhanced national security that our abundant federal resources can provide.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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