Top Democrat calls for party unity on regulations

Top Democrat calls for party unity on regulations
© Moriah Ratner

A top House Democrat is urging members of his party to defend key Obama administration climate rules against GOP efforts to undo them. 

In a letter to Democrats, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said both a coal mining rule and a regulation on methane leaks at oil and gas wells are good for the environment and not as economically egregious as Republicans have made them out to be. 

“These two regulations contain critical health, environmental and fiscal protections for the American people, and repealing them … would be a colossal waste of taxpayer money for the sole benefit of the oil, gas and coal industries,” Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote in a Monday letter to Democrats.


Republican leaders last week identified both rules, finalized late last year, as early candidates for congressional resolutions undoing them. 

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) coal rule is designed to protect small waterways from damage during the mining process, and Interior’s methane rule cracks down on leaks at drilling sites on federal land. 

The GOP says the rules will hurt their respective industries, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May MORE (R-Calif.) last week said the party was lining up Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions against them. 

“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 floor speech last week.

In his letter, Grijalva said Democrats should oppose Republican efforts to block the rules. 

“As Democrats, we should choose to side with the American people instead of corporate profits, hometowns over hedge funds, and every man, woman and child over ExxonMobil,” he wrote.

Republicans have committed to using the CRA against rules finalized late in the Obama administration, and it’s due to vote on GOP bills making it harder for the executive branch to regulate without congressional approval.