This week Americans for Tax Reform has been following a number of issues in the energy policy arena, including a resounding blow to the Obama Administration’s regulatory regime from one of his own appointees, a historic update to the Toxic Substances Control Act, and House plans for Interior-EPA appropriations.

Below are just a few of the energy issues ATR has been following this week. 

Obama Appointee Strikes Down Fracking Rule:  This week a federal judge appointed by President Obama struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2015 rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Wyoming District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl, appointed by Obama in 2011, ruled that “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” and that the rule exceeds the authority of the BLM.

Judge Skavdahl also took the opportunity to criticize the Administration on executive overreach stating, “Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently.”

TSCA Reform Bill Becomes Law: This week the bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2576, was signed into law, marking the first time in four decades the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been reformed. The pro growth economic reforms contained in the bill will increase consumer protections and make it easier for American businesses to transverse the interstate marketplace, which had previously suffered from over complication due a to a patchwork of state laws and regulations.  

In a letter last month, President and founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist urged lawmakers to act on TSCA reform and highlighted the need for an update of the law. “Since enactment of TSCA in 1976, industry innovations in product development and chemical safety have far outpaced the Act’s provisions leaving it outdated and untouched by lawmakers for almost 40 years,” Norquist wrote.  While some of the reforms did leave something to be desired, for instance enhancing EPA’s reach. Overall though the reforms will help to create a more cohesive national chemical regulatory program that gives businesses and states a new level of certainty with regards to consumer protections and interstate commerce. 

House Tees Up Interior-EPA Spending Bill: Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) this week announced the Interior-EPA spending bill would hit the floor the week of July 4th when lawmakers return from the Holiday recess. The Appropriations Committee approved the spending bill in early June on a 31-18 party line vote.

As part of the bill, the EPA will see it’s budget cut by over $160 million, bringing it down to around $8 billion. The bill reduces the agency’s regulatory programs by six percent, and includes language blocking the Clean Power Plan, methane rule, and Waters of the U.S., among others.

 Study Finds EPA over estimated benefits, underestimated costs of CPP: A new study released by the Manhattan Institute criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their flawed analysis of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Last August, the EPA released the final version of the CPP, which is projected to kill thousands of jobs, reduce GDP, and increase energy prices. As one would expect, the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA failed to present an accurate cost-benefit analysis of the President’s signature energy legislation. The study points out a number of flaws with the Agency’s analysis of the rule.


Photo Credit: Eelke