Amendments Blocking Obama-Era Regulations Pass House
A pair of amendments seeking to block Obama administration regulations and enforcement targeting oil and gas passed the House this week.
Sponsoring both amendments, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) sought to push back against a methane rule he insisted was a “job-killing regulation” and a social cost of carbon model he said could “easily be manipulated.”
The amendments were incorporated into H.R. 3354 which passed Thursday, 211-198.
“The methane rule is yet another duplicative regulation to come out of the Obama Administration,” Mullin told Western Wire via email. “If enacted, it would cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars and cost thousands of employees their jobs. Emissions from oil and natural gas plants are sufficiently monitored and have improved tremendously over the last ten years.”
“It’s great to see this amendment pass the House so the regulation in question is no longer able to hinder our economy and our workforce,” Mullin said.
Methane rule enforcement is not only an important issue in Mullin’s home state of Oklahoma, but across the West in oil and gas producing states like New Mexico, Colorado, and North Dakota, among others.
Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit challenging the methane rule. The Alliance is a supporter of Western Wire.
The amendment comes the same week as a new forecast from the Energy Information Administration through 2040 projects that oil and gas fuel demand and usage will continue to grow.
Speaking on the floor of the House earlier this week, Mullin said his amendment would “prohibit funds from enforcing the Obama administration’s EPA methane rule.”
“This rule is currently facing litigation and uncertainty and Congress must act to block this job-killing regulation,” Mullin said, putting the cost to the economy at $530 million annually. “Methane emissions from oil and natural gas has significantly declined in recent decades without multiple overlapping federal regulations and this is no exception.”
Mullin’s methane amendment passed 218-195.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) opposed Mullin’s amendment, saying it “doesn’t make sense.”
“This amendment doesn’t make sense from an economic perspective or a health perspective,” Polis said. “And while we invest in renewable energy, at the same time we know that we can’t wait to transition entirely to renewable energy before we address other side effects of the extraction process like methane.”
“Frankly, I wish these rules went further, but these stricter standards are a good start,” Polis said.
Polis had appeared to warm recently to oil and gas production in his home state, when at a recent forum hosted by industry the Congressman praised the “robust energy sector in Colorado,” including “the next generation of and future advances in oil and gas extraction.”
A second amendment from the Oklahoma Congressman prohibiting the implementation of a social cost of carbon also passed the House with a slightly higher margin, 225-186.
“Congress and the American people have repeatedly rejected cap and trade proposals,” Mullin said on the House floor. “The Obama administration continuously used social cost of carbon models, which can easily be manipulated in order to attempt to justify new job-killing regulations. The House has made a clear, strong record of opposition in social cost of carbon, voting at least 11 times to block, defund, or oppose the proposal.”
Mullin told Western Wire “the Obama Administration’s flawed imposition of the social cost of carbon is burdensome on our economy and businesses everywhere.”
Not only was the model subject to manipulation, Mullin said, but “the social cost of carbon model isn’t grounded in reality and its creation limits the success of energy projects across our country.”
“I’m glad to see this Obama-era mandate stopped in its tracks as a part of H.R. 3345,” Mullin told Western Wire.
Mullin’s amendments were among the targeted policy riders targeted by anti-fossil fuel activists groups critical of the passage of the bill, with the League of Conservation Voters calling them “unacceptable.”
E&E News reported the amendments could be seen as “poison pills” to final passage in the Senate with Democrats in that chamber promising a filibuster.