The House of Representatives repealed a major land management rule late Tuesday, making the Senate likely to vote on the issue soon.
Republicans are using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule called “Planning 2.0.” The BLM and Democrats claim the rule helps agencies better take care of public lands, but critics claim it seizes power from local officials and could make energy development much more difficult.
The House repealed the rule by a vote of 234-186, with four Democrats crossing the aisle to vote for repeal.
“Planning 2.0 dilutes local and state voices and centralizes power here in Washington DC,” Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, said in a speech on the House floor Tuesday. “This puts special interest groups above local elected officials, which is not the way it was ever intended.”
Senate Republicans also back legislation to repeal BLM’s public lands planning scheme.
“If left intact, it will harm grazing, timber, energy, and mineral development, and recreation on our public lands,” Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Energy, told Oil and Gas Journal. “Effective multiple-use management requires local, site-specific considerations, not landscape-level analyses.”
Congress has been on a roll, using the CRA to begin repealing Obama administration regulations.
Congress began repeal efforts on another major Obama-era regulation called the Stream Protection Rule. The U.S. Senate repealed the rule earlier this month, and Trump is expected to sign the regulation’s repeal.
Ending BLM and other agency restrictions to energy development on federal lands would create 2.7 million jobs and add $663 billion to the economy each year for the next 30 years, according to a new study published in December by Louisiana State University and the free-market Institute for Energy Research (IER).
Opening up these lands and waters would also lead to $5.1 trillion in new wages and $3.9 trillion in new federal tax revenue over the next 37 years, which would massively stimulate the economy, according to the research. Over a 30 year period, this would create and support 2.7 million new jobs.
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