House GOP to prioritize coal, methane rules for repeal

House GOP to prioritize coal, methane rules for repeal
© Greg Nash

House Republicans plan to make Obama administration rules on coal mining and methane emissions among the first regulations they work to repeal.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday said the GOP plans first to reform the way the executive branch writes regulations, and then to go after specific ones, with the coal and methane rules prioritized.

“While we haven’t yet determined what needs to be repealed first, I expect to start with swift action on at least on the Stream Protection Rule and methane emissions standards, both of which are limits to our energy production,” McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor.

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“This process won’t be completed quickly, but as we remove harmful regulations and change the structure of Washington, draining the bureaucratic swamp that undermines the will of the people, we can rebuild trust between the people and their government again,” he continued, borrowing from the “drain the swamp” message that President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE has used to frame his actions against lobbyists.

The Stream Protection Rule from the Interior Department puts new limits and standards on how coal mining companies, both through mountaintop removal and other means, protects and restores streams.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior have written rules to limit the methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling.

All of the rules McCarthy mentioned were finalized by Obama last year within the time period that allows Congress to undo them through the Congressional Review Act.

Trump also promised to fight the Stream Protection Rule and other rules that reduce or restrict fossil fuel production.

McCarthy characterized the rules as part of an effort by Obama to “unilaterally impose regulations on his way out of the door.”

The House is due to vote soon on numerous Republican bills to make it harder for the executive branch to impose regulations without congressional approval, including the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act and the Regulatory Accountability Act.

Lawmakers may also vote on a bill from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would allow them to overturn, en masse, all “midnight regulations” — those made final in Obama’s last months in office.