The U.S. House voted Friday overwhelmingly to block the eleventh-hour move by the Obama administration and its Bureau of Land Management methane emissions rule. It’s a rule that some, including Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine consider “overreaching and duplicative.”
The House passed H.J. Res. 36 to block the bill on a 221-191 vote.
“The Obama era brought regulation after regulation hindering production and innovation in oil and gas,” said Rep. Bridenstine in explaining his vote for the measure. “Today’s step is a step in the right direction for the industry and for the people of Oklahoma.”
He called it another “midnight regulation” that the Obama administration put into effect in the days as Donald Trump prepared to become President. The BLM measure attempted to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production on federal and Indian lands.
Rep. Bridenstine said it would have hindered energy production in Oklahoma by driving down production and federal and tribal revenues.
He sides with the action called the Congressional Review Act in which several of those “midnight regulations” issued late in the Obama term are under review. The CRA gives congress the authority to review and block regulations within 60 legislative days of their finalization.
Federal on-shore natural gas production declined 18 percent from 2010 to 2015, compared to a 55 percent increase on state and private lands. The industry has voluntarily reduced methane emissions by substantial amounts, capturing value, while still increasing production. Furthermore, the BLM lacks the authority and expertise to regulate air quality, which is already regulated by the EPA and the states.
Bridenstine explained that once H.J. Res. 36 is passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump, the BLM Methane Rule won’t be able to take effect. The agency also won’t be allowed to reissue a similar rule.