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Alex Mills: States fighting back against feds’ energy mandates

🕐 3 min read

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments Sept. 27 from attorneys representing 28 states and a number of energy industry interests claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency went too far in requiring states to comply with the federal mandates outlined in the Clean Power Plan.

The legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan is just one of many instances where the state of Texas and others have joined together to fight burdensome federal regulations adopted by the Obama administration.

A day after the arguments were heard in D.C., the Texas Senate’s Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from representatives of industry groups regarding the impact of one of these new regulations – the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane emissions rule, which has thousands of oil and gas companies wondering how they will be able to comply.

John Tintera, executive vice president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, told committee members the new methane rule will “severely impact” the Texas oil and gas industry and state revenue.

A national movement organized by the Madison Coalition based in Washington, D.C. seeks to prevent further federal regulatory overreach without approval from Congress. The objectives are to pass legislation that would require the approval of Congress before a major new federal regulation could become final, and adoption of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that also would require congressional approval of regulations.

The 2016 Republican platform endorsed the Regulation Freedom Amendment as have 19 state legislatures.

The Regulation Freedom Amendment states: “Whenever one quarter of the members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.”

Tomi Collins, national chairwoman of the organizing committee, said the amendment and legislation are critical reforms to end “regulation without representation.” She wants major new federal regulations approved by Congress before they can take effect.

“It’s just common sense that the regulations that govern us, like laws, should have the consent of the governed,” Collins said. “That’s why every Republican member of the U.S. House who cast a vote, along with some courageous Democrats, supported the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act to require congressional approval for major new regulations.”

Collins noted that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump supports the REINS Act.

“The monstrosity that is the federal government with its pages and pages of rules and regulations has been a disaster for the American economy and job growth,” Trump said. “The REINS Act is one major step toward getting our government under control.”

Trump also has said he would rescind the Clean Power Plan. Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton supports the Clean Power Plan and is on record as supporting even more stringent regulations.

“No matter who is elected president in November, the time is now for a coalition of reformers across America – citizens, state legislators and members of Congress – to work together to rein-in the out-of-control federal bureaucracy and to permanently end regulation without representation,” Collins said.

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

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