These Rules are a Needless Burden on American Families
Congressman Lamborn explains his opposition to the Stream Protection Rule and the Venting and Flaring Rule.
Perhaps no aspect of America’s economy has been as overregulated as energy. So this week the House will repeal two of the most damaging energy regulations: the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule and the Bureau of Land Management’s Venting and Flaring Rule.
Stream Protection Rule
The Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule could destroy tens of thousands of mining jobs and put up to 64% of the country’s coal reserves off limits, according to the National Mining Association. The rule rewrites over 400 regulations threatening one-third of the nation’s coal mining workforce.
During the rulemaking process, OSM shut out cooperating agencies — the states responsible for enforcing federal mining regulations. They also ignored existing regulatory success at the federal and state level.
OSM failed to conduct the seven-year rewrite in a transparent process consistent with their statutory requirement to engage state and local stakeholders and thus ended up with a duplicative, one-size-fits-all rule
·Blocking the final Stream Protection Rule will also restore an estimated $3.1 -$6.4 billion in state and federal tax revenue associated with coal extraction across the country to benefit hardworking American taxpayers
Venting and Flaring Rule
The CRA was designed to strike rules that Congress determines are too costly, unauthorized by law, or duplicative of existing regulations — and the BLM Venting and Flaring rule is all three.
Some estimates show that this rule could inflict staggering costs of $1.26 billion on national, state, and local economies while generating less than $4 million in new royalties. (Western Energy Alliance-commissioned study)
In addition, the legal basis for this rule is tenuous at best. The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA, working in conjunction with States, to make rules affecting air quality. The BLM does not have the expertise or the personnel available to efficiently implement this rule.
Instead of reaching beyond their jurisdiction to issue this costly rule, the BLM should focus their efforts on permitting gathering lines and transmission pipelines — which would ensure that more gas reaches market, instead of being flared.
Currently, states and the federal government already regulate methane — and this BLM rule merely adds yet another layer to an already over-regulated industry.
Methane emissions have fallen over the last 10 years, even as natural gas production has increased dramatically. Methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005. Total methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 11 percent since 2005.
And the increase in natural gas production is to the benefit of everyday Americans — the U.S. energy boom saved drivers $550 in fuel costs and saved American households over $1,000 in 2015 alone.
Affordable, environmentally responsible energy development is critical to the US economy, but this rule is a needless burden on American families. Congress needs to strike this costly and unnecessary rule.
Congressman Lamborn represents Colorado’s Fifth District. He has served on the House Natural Resources Committee on the Energy and Mineral Resources and Water, Power & Oceans Committees. This article was adapted from his remarks on the House floor February 3, 2017. For regular updates on his energy policy and legislation, visit his website.