President Donald Trump has repeatedly made clear his intention to make America not only energy independent, but energy dominant on a global scale. A large part of making that goal a reality is rolling back regulations put in place by prior administrations that restrict energy production.
According to the Washington Examiner, Interior Department officials announced Monday that they would be revising a restrictive and costly rule regarding a limit on methane emissions that was implemented near the tail end of former President Barack Obama’s administration.
Many believed the rule targeted oil and gas producers in rural areas of the country, and was deemed to be not only costly and restrictive, but also duplicative and redundant when compared with similar federal and state regulations already on the books.
“In order to achieve energy dominance through responsible energy production, we need smart regulations, not punitive regulations,” said the assistant secretary for land and minerals management, Joe Balash. “We believe this proposed rule strikes that balance and will allow job growth in rural America.”
The Bureau of Land Management, a subset of the Interior Department, chimed in with its own statement on the changes to the “venting and flare rule.”
“This proposal would align the regulations with administration priorities on energy development, job creation and reduced compliance costs while also working more closely with existing state regulatory efforts,” the department stated.
Of course, liberal environmentalist groups were outraged at the “unconscionable” announcement of the revised rule. But Republicans and the American men and women who make a living extracting abundant oil and gas from the ground cheered the development.
According to The Associated Press, the Obama administration imposed the restrictive measure on oil and gas producers in November of 2016, with the rule taking partial effect in January of 2017, even as it had been challenged immediately as “arbitrary and capricious” by several lawsuits.
However, President Trump issued an order in March of 2017 to all executive branch agencies to review their regulatory actions which would “potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”
The AP noted that an initial attempt to roll back the regulation was blocked by a district court judge, but Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ultimately announced a delay of full implementation of the rule until January of 2019, according to a December report from Reuters.
As it turned out, that delay may simply have been announced to buy time for the completion of the revised rule, which the AP noted would be officially entered into the Federal Register later this week.
“We’re supportive of smart regulation that is effectively tailored to (the Bureau of Land Management’s) authority to prevent waste and conserve resources,” stated Erik Milito, director of the American Petroleum Institute. “We are hopeful the new proposed rule will strengthen our nation’s energy renaissance, our economy and environmental stewardship.”
“The previous administration scorned domestic energy development and crafted the prior rule to deliberately stifle it,” Republican Utah Rep. Rob Bishop stated, according to The Daily Caller.
“This is a necessary step to promote investment in federal and tribal lands so that economies in the west can grow,” added Bishop, who serves as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Furthermore, The Caller noted that a recent study released by a group called Texans for Energy had found that, prior to the implementation of Obama’s rule intended to cut methane emissions, such emissions had already been declining significantly throughout 2011-2016 due to both pre-existing regulations and increased efficiency by oil and gas producers — again showing how the rule was both restrictive and redundant.
This announcement is great news for the economy as a whole as it means more jobs in rural America, as well as for our nation’s oil and gas producers, and should help in their joint quest with Trump to attain dominance of the global energy market in the years to come.
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