Can States Regulate Oil and Gas on Federal Lands?

A map of Colorado’s oil and gas activity. The blue-shaded area are the oil/gas basins, including the Denver-Julesburg, the largest. Purple and brown mark oil and natural gas fields.

Colorado Politics had an interesting article about Colorado’s never-ending oil and gas regulation debates (they’re never-ending because some groups want to stop permitting oil and gas altogether).

Federal versus state authority

Kinder Morgan, a pipeline company, pleaded for changes around oil and gas activity on federal lands, as did the American Petroleum Institute. Among them: a claim that the state cannot veto federally-approved land use. They asked that the COGCC change a rule that makes it clear that the commission cannot deny a comprehensive area plan (which outlines an oil and gas development) located on federal-owned or managed surface lands already approved by a federal land manager. However, the COGCC could consult with the appropriate federal agency as well as the operator, according to Ana Gutierrez of Hogan Lovells, representing Kinder Morgan.

The commission should also add a rule on site-specific data, mapping and analysis on geologic hazards, such as fault lines, rock falls, mudflows and unstable slopes.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Joel Minor said relevant federal statutes dating back to 1920, as well as case law, do recognize state authority to regulate oil and gas activity on federal lands. That includes state authority to protect the environment and wildlife resources on federal lands, he said.

Is that just about oil and gas on federal lands, or does it apply to everything (mines, windfarms, etc.)? Does it only work if states want to be more protective?

Meanwhile, if you think governments in D control will be spared lawsuits about the environment..Wild Earth Guardians is suing the State of Colorado for moving too slowly towards its climate goals.

Such a plan is still months away. The state has been working with an outside consultant on a roadmap to guide its policymaking to meet the climate targets. Putnam expects the effort to wrap up by the end of September.

He added the lawsuit won’t force the state to move any faster. If anything, he worries it could divert scarce legal resources away from the rulemaking process into a legal defense. In a statement from the Governor’s Office, spokesperson Conor Cahill expanded on the point, writing the administration has taken “unprecedented action” to retire coal-fired power plants and electrify Colorado’s economy.

“It’s very unfortunate that some seek to distract from the nationally-leading success of Colorado in order to justify a risky and expensive strategy such as a state-based cap and trade system that has not demonstrated the ability to effectively cut emissions elsewhere. Coloradans trust that Governor Polis will continue to act boldly and swiftly and utilize the tools and resources available to create good green jobs, address climate change, and ensure we can all breathe cleaner air,” wrote Cahill.

Nichols countered the state doesn’t need to waste time fighting the lawsuit. All it needs to do is submit rules to put Colorado on track to meet its climate goals.

“We don’t rush into lawsuits. It’s not something we take lightly, but the stakes are so high here,” he said.

In my experience, speed has never been the ally of crafting good rules about complex phenomena with diverse stakeholders and interests.

23 thoughts on “Can States Regulate Oil and Gas on Federal Lands?”

  1. “they’re never-ending because some groups want to stop permitting oil and gas altogether.”

    One could also say “they’re never-ending because some oil and gas industry groups and industry people want to stop pretty much any limits on their activities.”

    This part of the article was also interesting and worth highlighting, in my opinion:

    Attorney Katherine Merlin, presenting on behalf of environmental groups, including 350 Colorado, Physicians for Social Responsibility and WildEarth Guardians, pointed to an earlier presentation from the industry on the alternative location analysis. Merlin indicated the alternative locations discussed by the industry for a location proposed by Anadarko were unacceptable.

    Every location proposed violated at least one commission rule, including a preferred location only 450 feet from an occupied building, she said. “This example appears to validate our group’s greatest fear,” Merlin said, “that all harms will be acceptable and every rule is a mere suggestion as long as that acceptable harm is relative to some other potential for greater harm.”

    The commission must rely on objective standards drawn from the best available science, she said. The group suggested more rules, such as protecting emissions standards, continuous monitoring at all oil and gas sites, public warning systems for “upsets” and emergency situations and meaningful penalties against polluters for health and safety violations.

    Most significantly, however: the group said the commission must work on phasing out permitting within the next decade, as a means of addressing methane emissions and greenhouse gases, and as a way of transitioning away from fossil fuels.

    Lisa McKenzie, a public health expert and clinical assistant professor at the School of Public Health, told the commission about studies, including in Colorado, that attribute hazardous air pollutants and noise emissions to oil and gas well sites. A study of a large Greeley site observed that noise, measured 1,000 feet from the site, “consistently exceeded levels associated with sleep disturbance and cardiovascular disease during all phases of development and into production.”

    She also noted a 2018 health risk assessment said adverse health impacts increase at 2,000 feet and rise steeply at shorter distances. She also cited a study of 3,000 Colorado infants that reported those with congenital heart defects were 1.7 times more likely to have a mother living in areas with intense oil and gas development. This risk almost doubled in rural areas, she said.

    “No single study” can prove oil and gas development caused or did not cause a particular health defect, McKenzie said, but she said the fact that so many studies have now observed increased health effects tied to oil and gas indicates that there is an adverse effect.

    The commission also heard from those who believe their health has been impacted by oil and gas development.

    Susan Phillips Speece of Anthem Ranch, a 55+ community near Erie, testified that health data indicates setbacks should be at least 2,500 feet. She said there are 18 wells on the Livingston Pad that are 1,260 feet behind her home, and another 65 wells within two miles. “The residents of Anthem Ranch are at the mercy of the winds,” Speece said.

    Speece also suggested that airports be added to the list of structures with setbacks. Erie Airport is just north of Anthem Ranch. Gusting winds could result in disaster if a drilling rig is adjacent to an airport and winds blow the plane off its flight path. This isn’t a hypothetical, she explained: Crestone Peak is currently seeking a permit to begin drilling immediately east of the runway.

    Reply
    • Your quote made my point.. it doesn’t matter how many regulations there are, because
      “Most significantly, however: the group said the commission must work on phasing out permitting within the next decade, as a means of addressing methane emissions and greenhouse gases, and as a way of transitioning away from fossil fuels.” At least they’re honest about their intentions.

      The groups are 350 Colorado, Physicians for Social Responsibility and WildEarth Guardians. These positions do not fit with EDF, which tries to reduce methane, by.. regulations that reduce methane. But tightening regulations in the US will only work if there’s production in the US.

      And of course, not with Michael Webber in the interview posted here.

      I think it’s interesting because this discussion reminds me a bit of NW logging debates, but as far as I know no groups are against all logging on state, private and federal lands.

      Reply
  2. Also, here’s a link to the lawsuit that the article, and Sharon references. Some snips from the press release are below.

    I’d be curious to know what Sharon or other readers of the blog think should be done when a requirement passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by a governor isn’t met.

    Denver—WildEarth Guardians today filed suit to get Colorado back on target to meet key greenhouse gas reduction goals, ensure environmental justice, and achieve climate action.

    “While Governor Polis has committed Colorado to meaningful climate action, it’s critical to ensure we actually meet the goals needed to effectively protect the state,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “With a missed deadline and reports confirming the state is still not on track to meet key greenhouse gas reduction targets, it really is time for the Governor to step it up and ensure real climate progress for Colorado.”

    Filed in state court in Denver, the lawsuit targets the failure of Governor Jared Polis and his administration to meet a July 1, 2020 deadline to propose new regulations to meet critical greenhouse gas reduction targets.

    The suit calls on Governor Polis and his administration to put climate action into high gear, both to meet the state’s legal deadlines and ensure Colorado gets back on track to confront the climate crisis.

    Citing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis to Colorado’s health, environment, and economy, in 2019 the Legislature passed and Governor Polis signed into law the state’s first comprehensive law to curb statewide climate pollution.

    House Bill 19-1261 committed the state to reducing greenhouse gases 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050. It further directed that greenhouse gas reduction efforts be prioritized where people of color, low income neighborhoods, and Tribal communities are disproportionately impacted by sources of climate pollution.

    A companion bill signed into law by Governor Polis, Senate Bill 19-096, required the state to propose regulations meeting the reduction targets under House Bill 19-1261 by July 1, 2020.

    Since House Bill 19-1261 was enacted, the Polis administration has taken some steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    In the past year, Colorado adopted the state’s first-ever zero emission vehicle standards, increased methane controls within the oil and gas production sector, and set standards to reduce hydrofluorocarbon, or HFC, emissions.

    Unfortunately, reports show the state is nowhere near on track to meet the 2025 or 2030 emission reduction goals. Compounding the lack of progress is that greenhouse gas reduction efforts have yet to focus on protecting people and communities disproportionately impacted by sources of climate pollution.

    Reply
    • I’m seeing a much more complex relationship to justice (environmental and otherwise) than WEG does.. the justice of reducing Colorado blue-collar jobs, income to governments and so on.. with us ultimately importing the same natural gas developed with (possibly) poorer regulations and impacting other (possibly poorer?) people in Texas, New Mexico, or elsewhere?

      Reply
      • Sharon, I’m pretty sure we all see complex relationships to justice in these fossil fuel issues. That’s one reason why so many “green” groups support environmental justice and a just transition.

        Anyway, here’s some interesting news about yet another Trump administration rollback for the coal industry that will impact public health.

        Trump Administration Weakens Water Pollution Controls for Coal Plants

        Revisions to Rules for Power Plants Ignore Science and Public Health to Boost Coal Industry Profits

        Washington, D.C. (August 31, 2020)—The Trump Administration Environmental Protection Agency today weakened the regulations that limit toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants, the largest industrial source of toxic water pollution in the U.S.

        EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, signed a final rule today to replace a 2015 rule known as the Effluent Limitations Guidelines (or “ELG Rule”) for the steam electric (coal) industry.

        “Today Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule that will allow coal-fired power plants to continue discharging toxic wastewater into the nation’s rivers and streams, contaminating the drinking water and fisheries of 2.7 million people,” said Dr. Elizabeth Southerland, former director of science and technology in EPA’s Office of Water.

        The revised regulation weakens pollution limits, extends compliance deadlines, and exempts many coal-fired power plants, allowing them to discharge high amounts of mercury, selenium and other toxic chemicals.

        “If EPA were following the law, the coal industry would be close to eliminating its toxic wastewater by now,” said Abel Russ, Senior Attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project. “Sadly, EPA is ignoring the Clean Water Act, ignoring the courts, ignoring science, and ignoring public health. The agency is focused on just one thing: helping Trump prop up the coal industry. As a result, Americans will be forced to swallow hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic water pollution that the industry continues to dump into our waterways every year.”

        For a copy of the final rule, click here.

        Coal fired power plants discharge over 1 billion pounds of pollutants every year, impacting thousands of miles of rivers and contaminating the drinking water and fisheries of 2.7 million people.

        After lawsuits from the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and other allies, EPA in 2015 imposed a regulation that, for the first time, required coal plants to treat the toxic wastewater generated when air pollution “scrubbers” are cleaned. The 2015 rule also required the toxic ash from burning coal to be disposed of in dry form, eliminating water pollution from ash handling.

        The rule went into effect on January 4, 2016, and the water pollution controls originally had to be installed by most power plants between 2018 and 2023. In 2017, the Trump Administration postponed compliance deadlines until EPA could formally weaken the rules.

        The new rule weakens water pollution controls in several ways:

        • The Trump regulation requires less effective treatment of wastewater than the 2015 rule, which will result in increased discharges of selenium and other pollutants.

        • The rule gives the industry an extra two years to comply.

        • The rule exempts many coal-fired power plants from the already-weakened requirements, allowing them to discharge high levels of mercury, selenium and other toxic chemicals.

        It is also worth noting what the rule does not do. In April of this year, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated parts of the Obama Administration EPA’s 2015 ELG rule – limits on two waste streams from coal plants known as leachate and ‘legacy waste’ (wastewater generated before new limits kick in later this decade) – because they were not strong enough. EPA has so far failed to respond to that court ruling, prioritizing giveaways to industry over its legal obligations.

        Moreover, the rule does not follow the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act requires EPA to impose the “best available technology” on the industry to further the goal of eliminating water pollution. If the best technology available to the industry can eliminate water pollution, EPA must require the use of that technology. In this case, EPA’s rulemaking record does in fact show that the industry could eliminate water pollution from ash handling and from air pollution scrubbers using available, affordable technology.

        “EPA is legally obligated to make sure the industry keeps up with pollution control technology,” says Russ. “This rule does exactly the opposite – it allows the industry to skate by with outdated, ineffective pollution controls. This is a gift to the coal industry, plain and simple.”

        The Environmental Integrity Project is an 18-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to enforcing environmental laws and strengthening policy to protect public health and the environment.

        Media contact: Abel Russ, Environmental Integrity Project (802) 482-5379 or aruss@environmentalintegrity.org

        Reply
  3. Sharon – Environmental Defense Fund filed a similar suit. And the deadline the groups are suing over was set by the legislature. Given the years of inaction on climate change at the federal level, it’s understandable that some interests feel some urgency to see the state complete the job expeditiously.

    Reply
    • I understand that, but also it seems that rulemaking is more likely to stick legally if it is done carefully, and with a chance for the public to comment (not sure how much of that the state is required to do). At least that is what many folks tell the Trump Administration.

      Weren’t some environmental groups arguing that the Feds should stop planning work on oil and gas and RMP’s because of Covid and the public not getting enough opportunities to comment? It seems to me that dealing with Covid is a legitimate reason for the state to slow other activities down.

      Given that this is one state, in one country, it’s hard for me to see that six months is going to make a big difference in world-wide GHG emissions.

      Reply
  4. Here’s an interesting guest column that appeared in the Denver Post the other day about the “never-ending oil and gas” pollution from the Suncor Refinery that people and neighborhoods north of Denver have to deal with. The company’s own monitoring reports show that this Suncor refinery violated its pollution limits at least 2,750 times between December 31, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

    The guest column below was written by Ean Thomas Tafoya, co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum. This is a good example of an environmental and climate justice issue, in my opinion.

    The company’s own monitoring reports show that this Suncor refinery violated its pollution limits at least 2,750 times between December 31, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

    Guest Commentary: Community deserves better protection from Suncor pollution
    By Ean Thomas Tafoya

    We learned recently that the Suncor Energy refinery had another “upset” event in which one of its boilers failed, releasing untold quantities of unknown toxic chemicals into the air. We learned this after our neighbors, friends, and leaders had gathered in Pioneer Park holding a Get Out the Census socially-distanced event where they were outside for hours unknowingly exposed to these mystery chemicals.

    They noticed things had been especially hazy in the neighborhood but had no confirmation that anything was truly amiss until we saw a Facebook post from the refinery downplaying the pollution and flaring event. And the irony is that it happened on the day that Commerce City was holding a public meeting regarding how to distribute Suncor’s most recent fine to the community.

    We are fed up. We are sickened. We are getting ravaged by Covid-19 and by a city, state, and federal government that doesn’t work for the people but instead allows polluters to get rich while we get sick and die.

    Where is U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in all of this?

    Silent. He is unwilling to acknowledge the harm nor to work towards climate and environmental justice. Not a mention on his social media to warn or elevate the issues from the recent incidents for certain. In fact, he has even called Suncor a “good neighbor” during a telephone town hall. Suncor is a bad actor — not a partner to the people. When Rep. Perlmutter does this in the face of climate and environmental injustice, he is an enabler and joins the ranks of deniers of science and morality, like Sen. Cory Gardner.

    We are reaching our breaking point in North Denver, South Adams County, and in towns like ours across the country. Last year, Suncor had a massive release of hydrogen cyanide that went largely unnoticed. This gas was used by Nazis to commit genocide. It was floating around our neighborhoods, and no one even bothered to tell us. During a December “upset” event, Suncor responded to neighborhood complaints about all the particulate matter in the air by offering free car washes.

    Car washes won’t stop any of the untold ways we are harmed by this facility.

    We need our elected leaders to step up and do something for the people they represent. We need a plan for a just transition out of this mess. We need to find new employment for refinery workers on the frontlines and who also suffer from years of chemical exposure. We need Colorado and federal agencies to actually enforce environmental protections, not just let bad actors like Suncor slide.

    We can start with one very simple thing and that is for our state agencies, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to hold Suncor accountable to providing transparency about what the plant is emitting and what we are breathing in. We won the right to know about chemical releases in the passage of HB20-1265, the Air Toxics Bill, which essentially creates a reverse 911 system to notify frontline community residents about upsets at the refinery and other emergencies. This was only a small piece of the air toxin protection we sought before the pandemic flipped the Colorado Legislature upside down. But this latest event and the amount this past year makes this an even more urgent issue that must get fast-tracked by Colorado legislators. Community notification is the very bare minimum of what should be expected.

    Ean Thomas Tafoya is co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum.

    ————

    Here’s some more background information on this issue:

    https://youtu.be/8f-AYiPxhMs

    Reply
    • USFS press release today:

      Forest Service Proposes Improvements to Oil and Gas Development Regulations

      WASHINGTON, September 1, 2020 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service published a proposed rule that aims to improve agency regulations for oil and gas development on national forests and grasslands.

      The proposed change is one of many efforts underway at the Forest Service in support of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s direction to boost productivity on national forests and grasslands.

      The proposed rule would align Forest Service processes with those at the Department of the Interior to provide more clarity and consistency for oil and gas permitting on public lands. The changes also emphasize lease operator responsibilities, which include safeguarding natural resources, and clarify what management actions the Forest Service may take when operators are not in compliance.

      “Updating our regulations about oil and gas resources will help us be more efficient, while improving customer service,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “The rule would promote responsible development of our nation’s vast energy resources while preserving the surface resources of national forests and grasslands.”

      In fiscal year 2019, energy and mineral development from leases on national forests and grasslands produced commodities valued at approximately $2.9 billion and generated nearly $298 million in revenue through royalties and other payments to the U.S. Treasury.

      The proposed rule reflects requirements of legislation and Executive Orders governing federal oil and gas resource management enacted since 1990.

      The proposed rule is open for public comment until November 2, 2020 and is posted on the Forest Service website and in the Federal Register.

      ###

      Reply
      • Here’s a press release from a number of conservation groups about another Trump administration plan to make it easier for corporations to drill for oil and gas on National Forest System lands.

        On September 1, the administration will release its plan to make it easier for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. Forest Service lands. The proposed rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.

        National forest lands serve a vital role in the climate solution by storing carbon. Under this new rule, the administration would escalate oil and gas development, increase carbon emissions and exacerbate the climate crisis, putting human as well as the forests’ health at risk at a time when public health is the nation’s top concern.

        The proposed rule would cut the public out of the process used to decide whether and which lands will be opened to oil and gas drilling. It would also give excessive leeway to companies that don’t follow US Forest Service (USFS) laws and weaken that agency’s ability to protect public land from development and degradation.

        By adopting this dramatic departure from its long-standing role, Forest Service would give away its right to serve as a check on leasing in those places that need protections.

        “By undermining the public participation and environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act, this proposed rule puts the interests of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the public interest,” said Will Fadely, senior government relations representative, The Wilderness Society. “Our national forests and grasslands have never been more important for preserving and passing a healthy world forward to future generations.”

        “National forests are treasured by the American people for their recreation, watershed and wildlife values,” said Pete Nelson, federal lands director for Defenders of Wildlife. “Accelerating oil and gas drilling on national forests will hasten the extinction and climate crises at a time when we need to be moving in the exact opposite direction.”

        “The administration really outdid itself with a proposal that has the Forest Service walking away from its responsibilities for managing our national forests and grassland while closing the door on public oversight,” said Nada Culver, vice president of public lands and senior counsel for the National Audubon Society. “This is not just a conservation issue, it’s putting our communities at risk. Replacing forested areas and grasslands with drill pads and access roads not only means fewer birds like mallards and prairie warblers, but also degrades our lands and natural spaces, and threatens water supplies for millions of people.”

        “Tens of millions of Americans hike, camp, fish, hunt, bike, and run in our national forests each year,” said Sharon Buccino, senior director of lands for the Nature Program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “This rule would sideline their voices in favor of the fossil fuel industry. We won’t allow the Trump administration to shut down public review of drilling in our national forests that the American people don’t want and that the climate can’t afford.”

        Specifically, the rule would:

        • Reduce public input and transparency by removing the requirement that a Forest Service office give public notice of the decision to approve a Surface Use Plan of Operations, the specific plan for development.

        • Allow the Forest Service to skip important and necessary environmental reviews for leasing decisions. This, together with other administration roll backs of NEPA regulations, undermines that law’s role in good forest management.

        • Make it more difficult for the Forest Service to stop bad lease sales by removing explicit confirmation of USFS consent as a standard step in the leasing process.

        • Remove environmental considerations as criteria for decisions to approve plans.

        • Loosen the rules by giving developers unbounded discretion to extend deadlines and comply with operating standards. Currently, compliance deadlines can only be extended if the operator cannot meet them due to factors out of their control.

        • Limit the Forest Service to only protect specific, named natural resources and ignore opportunities to address climate change or protect vital wild places.

        By filtering air and water, lands managed by the USFS provide clean drinking water and clean air for millions of people and serve an essential role in tackling the climate and the extinction crises. Currently, if US public lands and waters were constituted a country, they would rank as the fifth largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, ahead of Japan, Brazil and Germany.

        Reply
        • Matthew, it’s a Proposed Rule. It’s September. It’s out for public comment until November 2.

          Again, do you have citation for the last statement? What are “public lands” federal or ???

          Reply
          • Sharon. Please ask the groups who actual wrote the press release. Their full contact is listed at the link so that people may contact them easily.

            Reply
    • So Suncor is a bad actor..does that mean the whole industry needs to be removed? By the same logic because some recreational marijuana folks advised pregnant women that marijuana was fine for their babies.. we should get rid of the marijuana industry.

      Reply
      • Jeez, Sharon, you must have really been upset by what Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch and Dow Chemical told pregnant women for decades.

        Reply
        • But no one has a campaign to get rid of smoking entirely (or we wouldn’t have legalized marijuana) nor beer (we tried that in about a hundred years ago with a notable lack of success) nor the chemicals that Dow produces.

          Reply
  5. It’s hard to make a government do something. Federal lawsuits involving legal deadlines (such as ESA procedures and FOIA requests) usually end up with a settlement agreement, sometimes with direct court supervision. I think courts are also more lenient if it looks more like the agency is stonewalling than if they are trying. In this case, “some steps are being taken,” so litigation may not be the best tool.

    On state authority, I found this bullet from an oil and gas source: “State laws and agencies, such as the Texas Natural Resources Code, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and North Dakota’s Industrial Commission, Oil and Gas Division, govern development, exploration, and production of oil and gas on state-owned and privately-owned lands.” Apparently not on federal. However, states also usually can regulate the environmental effects of federal developments with their authorities under the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act (as they can for other aspects of federal land management).

    Reply
  6. I wonder what the odds are that a final rule will be issued in this term, before inauguration. This is the type of rule that is typically scuttled (think back to Roadless Rule in 2000/1). Unless something unusual and rare happens (Trump wins, industry successfully sues via amicus to restore a dropped regulation) I think this proposal goes buh-bye.

    Reply
    • I agree. The last time I asked about it (months ago?) it was stuck somewhere in Clearance-Land. If it were important to the Admin, it wouldn’t probably have gotten stuck.It would be interesting to know the story…

      Reply
  7. I hate early chicken counting, but bring on the Congressional Review Act.

    “The CRA allows Congress to pass joint resolutions of disapproval that vacate a regulation in its entirety. Since these resolutions are still subject to a presidential veto, however, their passage is historically uncommon since a sitting president is not exactly keen to eliminate his own administration’s actions.”

    “Thanks to the CRA’s “look-back” period, though, there is a scenario following a presidential transition that makes action in the CRA realm more plausible. The look-back provision essentially dictates that any rule published within 60 session days of a Congress adjourning sine die then gets rolled over to the following Congress. In 2017, the Republican majorities in Congress and President Trump passed an unprecedented amount of CRA resolutions into law, thereby rescinding a whole series of significant Obama-era regulations. If there is a President Biden and Democratic majorities in both chambers, a similar dynamic could ensue.

    It now appears that any federal rulemaking published on or after May 13 could be subject to rescission under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), although volatility will remain for predicting the exact date.”

    https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/an-update-on-the-congressional-review-act-in-2020/

    Reply
  8. See also:

    Fracking Company Has Made It Rain Toxic Water Upon New Mexico Without Penalty

    Is New Mexico’s state government aiding and abetting fracking companies’ damage to humans and the environment?

    Penny Aucoin, her husband Carl Dee George, their son Gideon and their daughter Skyler have had their lives devastated by the fracking industry.

    There was no oil and gas infrastructure where they lived when they moved to Carlsbad, New Mexico. But six years ago, during a massive expansion of drilling across the Permian Basin that spans West Texas and southeastern New Mexico — one of the most prolific oil and gas basins in the United States — the drilling began.

    It was so loud they had to provide hearing protection for Skyler. Then when the flaring commenced, dead birds began literally falling out of the sky right next to their home, and one of their chickens died.

    Shortly after that, Penny began feeling the health impacts. Blisters appeared on her face as more drilling pads were installed, some of them literally across the street from their home. Their bedroom walls shook as the drilling pads were constructed nearby, installing both a physical and psychological invasion on the family home. Skyler started having nosebleeds, respiratory issues beset them all, and Penny had ongoing headaches. Carl discovered a nodule on his tongue.

    Then, when a pipeline near their home burst this January, they, along with their home and their animals were showered with toxic chemicals. When they walked outside to investigate the bang they heard, which was followed by gushing fluids, they believed it was raining. But what they thought was rain was, in fact, “produced water,” the byproduct of fracking. According to the American Geosciences Institute, this toxic byproduct is full of corrosive salts, oil residues (oil is a hazardous material), fracking chemicals, bacteria and dissolved organic compounds. These proprietary chemical blends created by industry and protected under trade secret law are highly carcinogenic.

    Since then, the family’s days are filled with doctor’s appointments, and Carl, a veteran, regularly visits the VA in Albuquerque, hoping the nodule on his tongue doesn’t turn into cancer. Any dream of their life returning to what it was before the oil and gas invasion is long gone, and now it is a matter of survival.

    What they thought was rain was, in fact, “produced water,” the byproduct of fracking, full of corrosive salts, oil residues, fracking chemicals, bacteria and dissolved organic compounds.
    They are just one family who are paying the price for a virtually unregulated drilling and fracking industry that has created one of the largest environmental disasters of modern times.

    Read the full story here: https://truthout.org/articles/fracking-company-has-made-it-rain-toxic-water-upon-new-mexico-without-penalty/

    Reply

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