The House will launch an attack Monday on former President Barack Obama's midnight regulations targeting the coal and natural gas industries, using powers extended to it under former President Bill Clinton for Congress to unravel specious federal rules.
On Monday, two joint resolutions of disapproval are set to be introduced to go after two of the most egregious energy regulations that were finalized in the waning hours of the Obama administration, said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
The first resolution will oppose the Stream Protection Rule, which is considered by the coal industry as one of Obama's more onerous regulations because it was sped through the regulatory process and would override state authority in regulating run-off by the mining industry.
The Interior Department rule is meant to protect waterways from coal mining, but is so strict that it has the effect of stopping mining in coal states like West Virginia and Ohio, say critics.
The resolution to repeal the Stream Protection Rule with be introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican members Bill Johnson of Ohio, David McKinley and Evan Jenkins of West Virginia, and will be fully supported by Doug Lamborn of Colorado, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee's panel on mineral resources, Bishop said Friday.
Bishop will be introducing the second resolution of disapproval to repeal the Bureau of Land Management's venting and flaring restrictions to control methane emissions from fracking and oil and natural gas producers on federal lands. The rules are seen by the industry as duplicative and an unnecessary expense, as it says it is already taking actions to reduce methane on its own.
The resolutions are expected to become a hallmark of President Trump's first 100 days in office, as they will be crucial in meeting his goal of rolling back a number of regulations on the fossil energy industry imposed by the former administration.
Bishop pointed out that the power was afforded to Congress by Clinton, who signed into law the Congressional Review Act in 1996 designed as "an oversight tool to prevent midnight regulations that have no business to be promulgated but were pursued anyway."
Bishop said Clinton supported the act to increase accountability. Former Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid said "it would be reclaiming for Congress some of its policymaking authority," Bishop said. He added that the House will focus on reclaiming the policymaking authority in the 115th Congress, something it lost through executive fiat during Obama's administration.
The Senate is expected to follow suit soon after the House takes action.
The top Democrat on Bishop's committee, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, is raising the alarm about the GOP's plans. Grijalva says repealing the stream rule would harm public health, including the coal miners Trump promised to put back to work.
"Republicans' corporate favoritism is going to sicken and kill the very people Donald Trump falsely promised to help," Grijalva said. "They know wiping out this rule after a single hour of debate is indefensible, so they're not even trying to defend it. Unless they cover the health costs of every American who stands to be hurt by this rollback, they will have American lives on their conscience."