Overnight Regulation: Trump looks to repeal Obama fracking rule | States sue EPA over chemical safety | Regulators mull future of 'Volcker Rule'

Overnight Regulation: Trump looks to repeal Obama fracking rule | States sue EPA over chemical safety | Regulators mull future of 'Volcker Rule'
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Monday evening, and the House is in session for the last week before August recess begins. Senators, though, are expected to stick around through the first two weeks of August.


THE BIG STORY: What the frack?

The Trump administration is proposing to completely repeal Obama-era standards governing hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

The proposal from the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is due to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

The landmark 2015 regulation set standards in areas such as disclosure of fracking chemicals and integrity of well casing.


It was the Obama administration's attempt to update decades-old regulations to account for the explosive growth in fracking for oil and natural gas in recent years.

The repeal is the latest in a long string of environmental regulations from Obama that Trump is working to undo.

Their rationale: Trump officials say in the proposal released Monday that the Obama regulation is largely duplicative of state and tribal standards, and would cost the oil and gas industry up to $45 million a year to comply.

Where the rule stands now: The rule's enforcement has been on hold since last July, when a federal judge in Wyoming overturned it, ruling that the BLM does not have the authority to regulate fracking at all. The Obama administration appealed that decision, but the case is now on hold due to the Trump administration's reconsideration of the rule.

The Hill's Timothy Cama has the info you need here.  



A House Judiciary subcommittee is holding a hearing on "No Regulation without Representation" to address issues with states regulating beyond their borders.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the Federal Communications Commission.

Two House subcommittees hold a joint hearing titled: "Examining Advancements in Biofuels: Balancing Federal Research and Market Innovation."

The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a discussion on "Renegotiating NAFTA: Energy Opportunities and Challenges." Click here for a live webcast.

The House Financial Services Committee marks up a number of bills, including on municipal finance and access to capita.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee marks up the fiscal 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies spending bill.

Another Senate Appropriations subcommittee marks up the fiscal 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development & Related Agencies spending bill.



Finance: Federal regulators this week will weigh the future of a controversial rule meant to curb excessive risky behavior on Wall Street.

Members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) will meet Friday afternoon to discuss potential changes to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law's "Volcker Rule," which bans banks from making "proprietary" trades with their own capital and not on behalf of their customers.

Named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, the rule is meant to ban banks from engaging in risky trades that could limit their ability to respond to a financial crisis. But banks have long said the rule needs clarity, imposes crushing burdens on smaller firms that lack the influence to trigger a crisis and prevents banks from making safer investments that will boost their ability to lend.

Banks have complained for years about the rule, and secured some delays under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden teams to meet with Trump administration agencies Biden says he'd meet with Trump 'if he asked' Biden-Harris ticket the first in US history to surpass 80 million votes MORE, but have an opportunity to win major limits under President Trump. The FSOC will discuss revisions to the Volcker Rule suggested in the Treasury Department's first financial regulatory blueprint in June.

Sylvan Lane has more here.


Marijuana: Newly liberalized marijuana laws are set to go up in smoke.

The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE.

President Trump's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report in the coming week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking the plant.

Sessions sent a memo in April updating the U.S. Attorney's Offices and Department of Justice Department (DOJ) component heads on the work of the task force, which he said would be accomplished through various subcommittees. In the memo, Sessions said he has asked for initial recommendations no later than July 27.

The Hill's Lydia Wheeler has the story.


Tech: AT&T is in preliminary discussions with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about potential conditions to win approval for its pending merger with Time Warner, according to Bloomberg.

The talks indicate that the DOJ's antitrust division is getting closer to finishing its review of the $85 billion deal, which experts and observers expect regulators to clear.

Competitors and lawmakers have pressured the DOJ, however, and warned of potential anti-competitive practices that AT&T could engage in after the merger is finalized. Those concerns include the possibility that AT&T would favor Time Warner content such as CNN and HBO on its TV services.

Ali Breland has more on the merger talks here.


More tech: Meanwhile, Democrats singled out the AT&T-Time Warner merger in their new messaging campaign on Monday, signaling a tougher stance on policing corporate consolidation.

In a set of documents posted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democrats laid out their "Better Deal" vision of cracking down on "extensive concentration of power" in a number of industries, including the cable and telecom fields.

"Consolidation in the telecommunications is not just between cable or phone providers; increasingly, large firms are trying to buy up content providers," the document reads.

Harper Neidig has more on Dems' call to get tougher on mergers


Environment: Twelve states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its June decision to delay implementation of a chemical safety rule.

The state attorneys general, led by New York's Eric Schneiderman (D), argue the rule is important for "protecting our workers, first-responders and communities from chemical accidents" and should be allowed to take affect as planned by the Obama administration's EPA.

"The Trump EPA continues to put special interests before the health and safety of the people they serve," Schneiderman said in a statement.

 The EPA announced last month that it would delay implementation of its updated "Risk Management Plan" regulation for chemical facilities until 2019.

The rule, finalized by Obama administration regulators in January, would require plants to better prepare for accidents and give the EPA more regulatory and oversight power over the facilities.

But chemical companies have argued the rule could create security and compliance problems.

Devin Henry has more here.


Agriculture: Small farm and ranch companies and animal rights activists flew to Washington last week to meet with lawmakers and push for legislation they say will bring needed reforms to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

At issue are mandatory USDA fees for so-called checkoff programs. Farmers and ranchers are required to pay for federal programs that help market industry products. The funds have been used for such popular and iconic campaigns as the "Got Milk" ads and the "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" campaign.

But critics say those programs promote policies for industrialized agriculture, not small farmers and ranchers

Sumner Park has the details


Environment: President Trump is expected to nominate a coal lobbyist and an energy industry attorney for a pair of key posts at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sources close to the administration said Andrew Wheeler, a Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting lobbyist whose clients include coal-mining company Murray Energy Corp., is in line for deputy administrator.

Bill Wehrum, a Hunton & Williams attorney, is the likely nominee for assistant administrator for air and radiation, a position whose jurisdiction includes climate change programs.

Climatewire first reported the expected nominations earlier Friday.

Read more here.


Healthcare: A coalition of six public health groups asked federal courts on Monday if it could intervene in two lawsuits challenging the first-ever rules for cigars and electronic cigarettes that were finalized under former President Barack Obama.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Associatio and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Truth Initiative filed motions in federal district courts in the District of Columbia and Alabama asking for permission to defend the rule in court.

The Cigar Association of America and e-cigarette company Cyclops Vapor 2 LLC are both fighting the rule, which forces companies to put warnings on product labels and go through an approval process for products that hit store shelves after Feb. 15, 2007.

In its motions filed Monday, the health rroups said rolling back the rule would have a "direct adverse effect on public health, particularly among youth."

Lydia Wheeler has the story here.



GOP chairman extols 'benefits' of climate change

EPA chief makes frequent trips back to Oklahoma: report

Hatch shares gif of dumpster fire: 'Checking in on Dodd Frank' Court upholds Obama rule banning vaping on airplanes

Reuters: Trump administration seeks to sidestep border wall environmental study: sources

American Banker: Wells Fargo said to get regulatory questions after breach

The Wall Street Journal: Battle over government's version of Yelp for bank

The Wall Street Journal: BMW denies VW claims of possible coordination by German car makers

Associated Press: Drone flyers think about regulation as industry takes flight

Bloomberg: Trump's FDA commissioner on drug prices, regulations, science


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