Congress has a constitutional responsibility to hold the executive accountable for rushed regulations and a bloated bureaucracy. We take that responsibility seriously. Earlier this month, the House passed the REINS Act, which gives Congress—the representatives of people affected by these regulations—an up-or-down vote on major (read: costly) regulations.
Now we are using our powers under the Congressional Review Act to undo certain regulations that were pushed through by the Obama administration at the last moment. Not just because we can—but because these regulations were poorly-crafted and hurt real people.
Take the Department of Interior’s stream protection rule.
It hurts people. The stream protection rule is really just a thinly veiled attempt to wipe out coal mining jobs. The Obama administration had a well-documented history of anti-energy policies—with coal as enemy number one. It’s estimated that the stream protection rule could wipe out one-third of the nation’s coal mining workforce.
It’s poorly-crafted. The Department of Interior’s own reports show that mines are safe and the surrounding environment is well-protected. This rule upends over 400 regulations already on the books. It ignores the federal, state, and local regulations that were already in place. During the rulemaking process, the federal government shut out the states that would be affected.
Not much more could be wrong with this rule, but the Obama administration ignored our concerns and pushed the rule through in December. That’s why we will vote to overturn it today.
Or how about the Bureau of Land Management’s methane rule?
It hurts people. This is another anti-energy policy, this time targeted at the oil and natural gas industry. Its intended purpose is to regulate emissions from production on federal lands, but it would effectively (and intentionally) make it impossible for producers to develop resources on federal lands, cutting out tens of thousands of jobs for people in the West.
It’s poorly-crafted. This rule ignores the fact that the EPA is the agency designed to regulate air quality—and it already does. Furthermore, emissions on federal lands have gone down substantially, even though natural gas and oil production on federal lands has risen dramatically. In other words, it’s not needed. Existing regulatory regimes and industry innovation have combined to solve any potential emissions issues.
For too long, the American people suffered under an executive branch that acted like the rules and regulations it created didn’t affect real people. That world has now changed. Thankfully, we now have a president who understands that regulations often hurt more than help. President Trump signed an executive order this week that will retire two regulations for every new regulation created. We look forward to working with this president to uphold sensible regulations and eliminate regulations that hurt Americans.