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GOP fury over energy confronts reality of Congress’ snail pace via The Denver Post

 

By Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Ari Natter, Bloomberg

Republicans who have vowed to roll back dozens of Obama-era coal, climate and energy regulations are up against a harsh reality: There isn’t enough time to kill them all.

A packed congressional calendar and the challenge of assembling a coalition to vote down each measure will force lawmakers to pick their targets. New cabinet secretaries can relax enforcement of certain regulations but can’t scrap them entirely without a lengthy rulemaking process.

And in some cases, such as a measure announced this week to restrict offshore oil drilling based on an obscure statute, Obama has employed novel means that may take years to untangle in court.

“More will happen than environmentalists want, but less will happen than Republicans are hoping,” said Kevin Book, managing director of the Washington-based research firm ClearView Energy Partners.

Two Interior Department rules are the top candidates to get a vote under expedited procedures that give lawmakers a chance to review major regulations: one limiting the venting and flaring of natural gas on public lands and another designed to protect streams from coal-mining pollution. Both are opposed by industry.

The measures were part of a flurry of last-minute rulemaking by President Barack Obama, which has pushed nearly two dozen major regulations out the door since the election. With so many measures taking effect, not all may be repealed.

“Part of the Obama administration’s strategy is filling the policy horizon with chaff and hoping some of the missiles get through,” Book said. “And it might work.”

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