October 9, 2020 –
Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2016 Methane Rule, ruling that the agency “exceeded its statutory authority and acted arbitrarily in promulgating” the regulation. Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-Utah) released the following statement on the court’s decision:
“The 2016 rule represented one of the Obama administration’s most egregious abuses of executive power designed to destroy responsible energy production on federal lands. It was clear from the beginning that then-Secretary Sally Jewell had no authority to pursue this rule. At the behest of radical liberal special interest groups, the Obama administration plowed ahead anyway with their illegal, job killing regulation. This long overdue decision is a win for the American economy, energy producing States, and the rule of law.”
The 2016 Rule sought to regulate air quality under the Mineral Leasing Act by restricting methane emissions from oil and gas operations on Federal and Indian lands. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California had previously vacated the Trump Administration’s reversal of the 2016 methane venting and flaring rule in July.
In September of 2019, Ranking Member Bishop and Republican Members of the House Natural Resources Committee and Congressional Western Caucus filed an amicus brief in support of President Trump’s 2018 Venting and Flaring Rule.
In the 115th Congress, the House passed a resolution, H.J. Res. 36, sponsored by Ranking Member Bishop, to repeal this 2016 rule under the Congressional Review Act. This measure failed in the Senate by one vote, leaving the Obama-era rule in place.
Methane emissions from oil and natural gas have significantly declined in recent decades even as production has increased. Studies found the Obama regulation would have generated only $4 million per year in Federal royalties while imposing an economic cost over $1 billion annually.
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