Rolling Back Obama's Regulations Using the Congressional Review Act

                                                                                                                                                                   

Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04) and Members of the Congressional Western Caucus have introduced numerous bills to overturn several last minute regulations from the Obama Administration utilizing the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Passage of these bills will foster economic growth and unshackle job creators. The Congressional Review Act requires a simple majority in both Houses as well as a signature by the president and uses expedited procedures that allow for nullification of an entire regulation through a joint resolution that cannot be filibustered. The CRA prevents the rule from continuing in effect and also prevents a substantially similar rule from being reissued. The Parliamentarian has advised that all rules submitted during the 114th Congress on or after June 13, 2016, are eligible for review under the CRA in the 115th Congress. Bills used to review rules from the 114th Congress were eligible to be introduced in the 115th Congress on the 15th legislative day, January 30, 2017. Rules are reviewable under the CRA through the 60th legislative day.

Members of the Congressional Western Caucus believe economic growth and conservation are not mutually exclusive goals and can be accomplished by promoting balanced, commonsense policies. Stewardship of our environment and natural resources is best accomplished by those on the ground. States and local governments should be empowered to manage their lands to ensure optimal use. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration attempted to legislate by executive fiat and imposed numerous job-killing and overreaching regulations inconsistent with the multiple-use doctrine required by law.

As House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman and Western Caucus Member Rob Bishop (UT--01) accurately stated, "We in Congress have the chance to reset the clock, to go back to a time when policies helped people and where regulations were not used to pursue ideological aims." These CRA bills are necessary to reclaim Congress's "Constitutional authority and save jobs."

Americans for Limited Government stated, “The House’s bold use of CRA disapprovals represents their desire to undo the regulations of the Obama era and maintain their promise to constituents…The House [is] following through on its mission to empower states, citizens, and communities by repealing harmful [Obama Administration] regulations.”

  1. H.J. Res. 36, a Congressional Review Act bill by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) that blocks the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Venting and Flaring Rule. Passed the House 221-191 with a bipartisan vote on 2/3/17.
    The (BLM) Waste Production, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation rule – colloquially known as the Venting and Flaring rule or the BLM Methane Rule – represents one of the Obama Administration’s most egregious abuses of executive power designed to destroy responsible energy production on federal lands. BLM exceeded their statutory authority by attempting to regulate air quality –authority that is vested solely with the EPA. Methane emissions from oil and natural gas have significantly declined in recent decades without duplicative federal regulations and at a time when oil and gas production in the U.S. has surged. Contact Mike Freeman with questions.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE. Press Release HERE.
      
  1. H.J. Res. 38, a Congressional Review Act bill by Reps. David B. McKinley P.E. (WV-01), Bill Johnson (OH-06) and Evan Jenkins (WV-03) that blocks the Office of Surface Mining’s (OSM) Stream Protection Rule (SPR). Passed the House 228-194 with a bipartisan vote on 2/1/17. Passed the Senate 54-45 on 2/2/17. Signed into public law on 2/16/17.
    The Stream Protections Rule (SPR) rewrites over 400 regulations, threatening one-third of the nation’s coal mining workforce. During the rulemaking process, the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) shut out cooperating agencies – the states responsible for enforcing federal mining regulations. The agency also ignored existing regulatory success at the federal and state level. This rule’s devastating impacts will be felt far and wide across coal country. If this rule is implemented, approximately 78,000 mining jobs will be lost in addition to the tens of thousands already lost under the Obama Administration. Contact David Rardin (Johnson), Blake Deeley (McKinley), or Brian Barnard (Jenkins) with questions.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HEREPress Release HERE.
  1. H.J. Res. 44, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-At Large) that blocks the BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule. Passed the House 234-186 with a bipartisan vote on 2/7/17. Passed the Senate 51-48 on 3/7/2017
    Planning 2.0 changes the BLM’s resource management planning process, and introduces significant uncertainty by creating ambiguous standards and expanding agency discretion. This new rule will complicate effective resource planning while reducing opportunities for meaningful state and local governmental input. Planning 2.0 takes planning decisions away from local communities and centralizes those decisions with bureaucrats in Washington D.C. The rule also allows radical special-interest groups from other states to have the same influence as county and local officials when developing important Resource Management Plans (RMPs). This is a significant departure from the planning process that has existed for more than 30 years and allowed for significant local government involvement. Contact Jimmy Ward with questions.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.

     
  2. H.J. Res. 69, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Don Young (AK-At Large) that would overturn a final rule issued by Fish and Wildlife Service that significantly restricts hunting and wildlife management practices upon federal lands in Alaska. Passed the House 225-193 with a bipartisan vote on 2/16/17. Passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 52-47 on 3/21/17.
    On August 5, 2016, the Department of Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its final “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participating and Close Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska” rule. The rule fundamentally undermines Alaska’s authority – outlined in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and the Alaska Constitution – to manage fish and wildlife on state, private and federal lands. The rule applies broadly to 16 federal wildlife refuges in Alaska, amounting to 76.8 million acres or 20 percent of the state, and seizes management authority away from the State of Alaska for both non-subsistence and subsistence uses. The State of Alaska filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service on January 13, 2017 to overturn the August 5th final rule. Contact Michael DeFilippis with questions.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE. Press Release HERE.

     
  3. H.J. Res. 71, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03) that blocks ONRR’s revision of Federal Mineral Production Valuation Rule. 
    The Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (ONRR) 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.  In fact, it did the opposite. The rule didn’t simplify the process, disallows common cost deductions, and added burdensome and redundant reporting requirements.  This rule will hit small businesses the hardest and siphon away industry resources that could otherwise have been reinvested into the expanded production of domestic energy supplies, the creation of high-paying American jobs, and the generation of more revenues.  Congressman Ryan Zinke rightly noted that the rule would adversely impact coal mining, and industry has recently filed suit in opposition to the rule. Contact Dustin Sherer with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE. Press Release HERE.
     
  4. H.J. Res. 59, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) that blocks the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act Rule (RMP rule).
    This new midnight regulation imposes significant new costs without achieving any real safety benefits. In fact, industry has stated that the rule “may actually compromise the security of our facilities, emergency responders, and our communities.” The RMP program is intended to reduce the risk of accidental releases impacting areas surrounding facilities. Unfortunately, EPA once again exceeded its jurisdictional limits by encroaching on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulated areas and finalized a rule that not only fails to enhance safety, but in fact may compromise national security. This rule increases operating costs for businesses with no corresponding increase in safety. The EPA should work with stakeholders to ensure that the regulatory framework is effective in increasing safety and security, not detrimental to it. The current RMP framework works in a sector that already prioritizes safety above all else and that Bureau of Labor Statistics proves is among the safest in the nation. Contact Jonathan Gray with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.
     
  5. H.J. Res. 55, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02) that blocks the ONRR’s Amendment to Civil Penalty Regulations.
    The Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (ONRR) Rule entitled Amendments to Civil Penalty Regulations increases the possibility that oil and gas companies will face major fines and potential criminal liability for minor record-keeping and reporting errors. Through the rule, ONRR gave itself the authority to claim malfeasance despite companies' diligent attempts to comply with all reporting laws, policies and guidance. This rule is of particular concern for small companies, as they lack the extensive staff and legal resources necessary to comply with the complex royalty reporting requirements. Contact Cam Madsen with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.
     
  6. H.J. Res. 56, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02) that blocks the BLM’s Onshore Order 3 Rule.
    This new BLM regulation creates a long list of costly and unnecessary burdens for oil and gas production on federal lands. The BLM tried to justify these extreme changes by claiming they needed to act to ensure the correct amount of royalty is paid to the U.S. government. However, these changes will only decrease federal revenues by pushing production off federal lands. The regulations will also likely have little to no measurable impact on reporting accuracy as metering for onshore wells is already regulated. This regulation must be repealed to protect the thousands of jobs and federal revenues provided by oil and gas production on federal lands. Contact Rob Macgregor with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.
     
  7. H.J. Res. 60, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04) that blocks USFWS’ Compensatory Mitigation Policy.
    On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its final Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP). The final CMP is the result of an overreaching memorandum issued by President Obama in November 2015, which established policies that are a significant departure from existing practices regarding compensatory mitigation and would hinder economic development.  USFWS’ final CMP violates the ESA, unilaterally rewrites environmental laws originally passed by Congress, and would limit private-sector, voluntary involvement in developing compensatory mitigation plans. Further, it exceeds USFWS’ statutory authority by adopting the mitigation goals of “net conservation gain” and “no net loss,” which are not grounded in federal statute. The final CMP fundamentally changes USFWS’ compensatory mitigation requirements, creates substantive new obligations, and expands the jurisdiction of USFWS through interpretations of numerous statutes. This policy will impact industries and activities such as agriculture, forestry, mining, natural resource development, energy production, conservation projects, and building and road construction.  The misguided rule will create significant regulatory confusion and will hinder job and economic growth. Contact Sean O’Brien with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.
     
  8. H.J. Res. 68, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large) that blocks BLM’s Onshore Order 5 Rule.
    This new BLM rule replaces Onshore Oil and Gas Order 5, which prescribes standards for the measurement of gas produced from onshore federal and Indian oil and gas leases, with new and expansive regulations.  While the BLM made slight improvements from the proposed rule it failed to simply incorporate industry standards resulting in a final rule that will be outdated any time new natural gas measurement technologies become available or when standards are improved or modified.  Also, like revisions to Onshore Orders 3 and 4, BLM underestimates the costs associated with implementation and imposition of compliance timelines that will be impossible to meet.  This Congressional Review Act resolution blocks BLM’s unnecessary Onshore Order 5. Contact Chris Marohl with questions or to cosponsor. 

    A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE.
     
  9. H.J. Res. 82, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04) that blocks BLM’s Onshore Order 4 Rule.
    This new BLM regulation creates costly regulations for oil storage and handling on federal lands. The new version of the Onshore Order 4 Rule underestimates economic impacts, reduces public input, and will lead to the use of outdated oil measurement technology on federal lands. Additionally, this last-minute Obama Administration regulation does not adopt well-known industry standards. H.J. Res. XX will repeal this unnecessary rule, and ensure that the thousands of jobs reliant on access to resources on federal lands are not put in jeopardy. Contact Jonathan Shuffield in Rep. Westerman’s with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE.

  10. H.J. Res. 70, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Don Young (AK-At Large) that overturns a Department of Interior (DOI) final rule governing oil and gas exploration in the Arctic OCS, which would add upwards of $2 billion in additional regulatory costs on industry.
    On July 15, 2016, the Department of Interior – Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) – finalized the “Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf” rule.  The rule, which governs all future offshore exploration in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, has faced significant criticism since its proposal, particularly regarding its overly prescriptive application of restrictions, extreme costs, and failure to consider the substantial innovations in safety technology that are suitable for the low pressure/low temperature environment in the Arctic – as opposed to high pressure/ high temperature needs of the Gulf of Mexico. The Department of Interior cost-benefit analysis has estimated the rule will cost $2.1 billion in compliance, adding exorbitant costs to the already billions of dollars needed to acquire leases and responsibly develop in the Arctic. A 2011 analysis found that development of those resources would create an annual average of 55,000 jobs over a 50-year period and generate a total of $193 billion for local, state, and federal treasuries. According to a 2014 poll, 73 percent of Alaskans support Arctic OCS development. Contact Michael DeFilippis with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.
     
  11. H.J. Res. 45, a Congressional Review Act bill by Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large) that blocks the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Oil and Gas Refuge Rule.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently finalized regulations governing the exercise of non-federal oil and gas rights within the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System) located outside the State of Alaska. There are over 5,000 oil and gas wells on 107 units of the Refuge System out of a total of 599 refuge units managed by the USFWS.  1,665 wells are actively producing oil and gas. The new regulations are duplicative and inconsistent with existing regulations that protect the environment. The Service does not have the expertise and personnel to implement this new permitting system and will rely on new fees to cover these costs. This new regulation will stifle production and kill jobs. Contact Chris Marohl with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.
     
  12. H.J. Res. 46, a Congressional Review Act bill by Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S (AZ-04) and Rep. Diane Black (TN-06) that blocks the National Park Service’s (NPS) Oil and Gas Rule.
    On November 4, 2016 NPS released a final rule for oil and gas development covering private and state-owned oil and gas rights. This misguided rule could negatively impact 534 non-federal oil and gas operations in 12 Park units located in New Mexico (4 operations), Florida (20 operations), Texas (232 operations), Tennessee/Kentucky (159 operations), Ohio (90 operations), and West Virginia (29 operations). Once this fundamentally-flawed Obama regulation is rolled back, these private and state-controlled operations will continue under the same environmental regulations that have worked well for the past 38 years. The Park Service’s oil and gas regulation jeopardizes significant investments made by job creators, states and private companies. The federal government has no right to impose job-killing regulations for private and state-owned oil and natural gas wells not owned by the federal government, especially when these wells are already subject to existing environmental regulations. Again, these are non-federal oil and gas rights. If allowed to stand, the Park Service’s new regulation could result in unconstitutional takings, permitting delays and job losses. Contact Jeff Small (Gosar) or Ace Burch (Black) with questions or to cosponsor.

    A full list of endorsements can be found HERE. A full list of cosponsors can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. More Info HERE.

Background:

According to the American Action Forum, 4,432 new regulations have been finalized that cost a total of $1,000,000,000,000 and result in 754,208,800 hours of paperwork compliance since 2005. 120,849,512 hours of paperwork came from regulations that were finalized in 2016 alone. With regards to “midnight regulations,” those issued between Election Day and Inauguration Day, a potential cost of $6,000,000,000’s worth of regulations was issued by the Obama Administration on eight rules. There were several other “midnight regulations” that have yet to be analyzed and are not included in that staggering cost estimate. 

The House has already voted to overturn 14 harmful regulations using the Congressional Review Act. Four of these bills were initiatives spearheaded and supported by members of the Congressional Western Caucus.

·         The Stream Protection Rule
·         The BLM Venting and Flaring Rule
·         The BLM Planning 2.0 Rule
·         Alaska State Hunting and Wildlife Restriction Rule

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