Congress Trashing Another Major Obama Green Regulation


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Congress started repealing a major last minute Obama regulation using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) Wednesday.

The U.S. House of Representatives repealed the rule by a vote of 233 to 188, with no Democrats joining the repeal effort and the bill is now headed to the Senate.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a rule towards the end of the Obama administration called “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Alaska.” The rule significantly reinterpreted federal law to effectively sharply limit recreational and subsistence hunting of fish and wildlife in the state.

Alaska’s state government disliked the rule, claiming that it created a system of top-down decision making from the federal government that was the exact opposite of what previous legislation intended. Alaska previously filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and FWS to overturn the rule.

“These efforts have the State of Alaska’s full support to eliminate what we believe is the unlawful preemption of the traditional state-federal jurisdictional relationship for the management of fish and wildlife that was the intent of Congress through the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska National Interest Land Conservations Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act,” Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game said in a letter to Congress.

Republicans have been repealing numerous Obama-era environmental regulations using the CRA. Early this month they used CRA to repeal a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule called “Planning 2.0 which the agency 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The House repealed the rule by a vote of 234-186, with four Democrats crossing the aisle to vote for repeal

Congress also started repealing  another major Obama-era regulation called the Stream Protection Rule which was targeted at coal mining. The U.S. Senate repealed the rule earlier this month, and Trump is expected to sign the regulation’s repeal.

Opening up the reserve to oil drilling would create an estimated 736,000 new American jobs, according to economic analysis. A Yale University study in 2007 showed that the oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could be worth $374 billion at oil prices only a little above today’s.

There is a 95 percent probability that at least 5.7 billion barrels of oil are recoverable in ANWR, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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