Senate blocks move to overturn Obama-era rule on drilling

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2017

"Methane emissions from our sector continue to fall, even as natural gas production nationwide has soared, making this redundant and technically flawed rule a solution in search of a problem", Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said in a letter Tuesday to Senate leadership. They were joined by McCain, Sen.

The Obama administration finalized a rule in November that would force energy companies to capture methane that's burned off or "flared" at drilling sites. "But as it turns out we lost three and didn't get any help from the Democrats". It promulgated by DOI's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and unveiled in January 2016, during the Obama administration. McCain was one of the Republicans who had called for the special committee.

It may have been Donald Trump's firing of James Comey. John CornynJohn CornynFive takeaways from Yates's dramatic Senate testimony What moderate GOP senators want in ObamaCare repeal Yates account builds Flynn-Russia drama MORE (R-Texas) told reporters last week that the bill will come to the floor before then, though leadership has yet to schedule a vote on the resolution. Vice President Mike Pence was at the Capitol in case his vote was needed as a tiebreaker in a sign that McConnell thought the vote would be close. "More members are getting concerned about the implications", Wyden said. But so far this year, Congress has voted 13 times to overturn various Obama rules, including those related to stream protection, internet privacy, and shooting hibernating bears. McCain added that he wanted the Interior Department to issue "a new rule to revise and improve the BLM methane rule".


In a statement, McCain expressed reservations about the rule, but said using the Congressional Review Act to repeal it would prevent BLM from creating a substantially similar rule.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called it "incredible news", while the Environmental Defense Fund said the vote was "a huge victory for people and the planet". His administration said the rule could avoid wasting up to 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year and produce as much as $330 million a year in additional royalties on gas to states and Native American tribes. "To waste it, for future generations, I've never been very comfortable with that".

Thursday is largely seen by regulation experts as the deadline to use the Congressional Review Act.


"We are definitively better off with this rule in place, which enables producers to use simple low-cost solutions to prevent waste and save resources", Udall said in a statement. The time period in which Congress can use the CRA to roll back regulations is set to end at the end of this week.

Some Republican lawmakers balked at fully embracing the Trump administration's climate skepticism Wednesday, as the Senate failed to kill an Obama-era plan for containing methane emissions that had deep support among environmental activists and many landowners in the West.


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