When the U.S. House on Friday voted to overturn the Obama administration regarding flaring of natural gas during drilling operations on public lands, all five Oklahoma Congressmen were in the majority.
Representatives Bridenstine, Cole, Lucas, Mullin and Russell were among the 221 who passed the measure and sent it to the U.S. Senate. They were joined by three Democrats who supported repealing the rule that was finalized in November.
Republicans argued the rule caused job losses in energy-dependent states and was undercutting domestic energy production. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo. argued, “This rule is a needless burden on American families.”
Under the Obama administration rule, energy companies could no longer “flare” or burn off natural gas at drilling sites, a practice that was done because the gas earns less money than oil. But the government maintained nearly 40 percent of the gas being flared could be captured economically and sold.
California Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal accused Republicans of doing the bidding of wealthy fossil fuel executives.
“Two weeks into an all-Republican government and they are already handing out early Valentine’s Day gifts,” said Lowenthal. “Instead of chocolates and flowers, they are giving fossil fuel executives the right to pollute our water and our air.”
It’s not known when the Senate might take up the issue. The House earlier had voted to end another Obama era regulation—-one that forced oil and gas companies to reveal the payments they made to foreign governments for mining and drilling.
Earlier, the House and Senate gave final approval to a measure eliminating a rule that prevents coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams.