April 7, 2017

Executive Order on Energy Independence


  • President Trump signed an executive order last week that calls for a dramatic shift in policy to provide energy security, job growth, and economic prosperity.
  • Breaking down barriers to responsible domestic energy development will benefit all Americans.
  • This executive order builds on the Senate’s oversight of the Obama administration’s war on fossil fuels.  

On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order promoting American energy independence. It calls for a shift away from the destructive regulations issued under the Obama administration. The goal will be to provide energy security, job growth, and economic prosperity. The order directs federal agencies to review policies that impede energy production, and make recommendations to modify or rescind those that unjustifiably threaten energy independence.  

Many of the actions specified in the executive order are examples of Washington’s overreach – agencies acting outside of their authority and trampling on policy areas that states have effectively managed. Actions targeted by the order impose significant costs on Americans, undermine the country’s ability to be energy independent, and provide few environmental benefits. 

Obama Regulatory Overreach

Trump Executive Order

EPA’s “Clean Power Plan”: The Environmental Protection Agency set unattainable carbon dioxide limits for power plants. Implementation could cost $39 billion a year and increase electricity prices by double digits in 41 states.

1.) Standards for existing power plants

  • In 2015, a bipartisan majority of Congress passed a CRA disapproving the rule. President Obama vetoed it.

  • 27 states challenged the rule in court. 

  • 34 Senators and 171 House members filed an amicus brief arguing EPA acted outside of its statutory authority.

  • In February 2016, the Supreme Court issued a stay blocking the rule’s implementation. 

2.) Standards for new, modified, and reconstructed power plants

  • Created a de facto ban on new coal power plants by requiring the use of CO2 control technology that is not yet commercially viable.

  • In 2015, a bipartisan majority of Congress passed a CRA disapproving the rule, which President Obama vetoed.

  • 25 states have challenged this rule in court.

Directs the EPA administrator to review and, if appropriate, suspend, revise, or rescind:

  • Final rule: “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units”

  • Final rule: “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units”

  • Proposed rule: “Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules; Amendments to Framework Regulations”

Directs the EPA administrator to notify the attorney general of any actions taken by the EPA related to the rules above, so that the Department of Justice can provide notice to any court with jurisdiction over pending litigation related to those rules. The attorney general may request that the court stay the litigation, delay it or seek appropriate relief.  

EPA’s methane rule on oil and gas sources: The EPA imposed unnecessary methane emission limits on new, reconstructed, and modified oil and gas sources.

  • EPA estimated the rule will cost $250 million in 2020.

  • The rule is unjustifiable. According to EPA’s latest estimates, from 1990 to 2015 methane emissions from petroleum systems fell by 29 percent and methane emissions from natural gas systems fell by 19 percent.

  • The rule duplicates state regulations on methane emissions. 

Directs the EPA administrator to review and, if appropriate, suspend, revise, or rescind the final rule entitled “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emissions Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources”

Directs the EPA administrator to notify the attorney general of any actions taken by the EPA related to the rule above so that the Department of Justice can provide notice to any court with jurisdiction over pending litigation related to the rule. The attorney general may request that the court stay the litigation, delay it or seek appropriate relief.

BLM oil and gas rules: The Obama administration sought to discourage oil and gas production on federal and Indian lands through new rules.

1.) Hydraulic fracturing rule

  • The Bureau of Land Management has no statutory authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing.

  • The Western Energy Alliance estimates the rule will cost $345 million per year.

  • A U.S. District Court blocked the rule’s implementation, but the decision was appealed and litigation is pending.

2.) Venting and flaring (methane) rule

  • The rule is unjustified. According to EPA’s latest estimates, from 2011 to 2015, methane emissions from venting and flaring from onshore oil and gas production fell by 77 percent.

  • Over the same period, onshore crude oil and condensate production increased by 84 percent, and onshore natural gas production increased by 19 percent.

  • The rule duplicates state regulations on methane emissions, including venting and flaring from oil and gas wells.

  • The Western Energy Alliance estimates the rule will cost industry $174 million per year and reduce federal and state tax revenue by $114 million per year.

  • A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives disapproved of the rule on February 3, 2017. 

Directs the interior secretary to review and, if appropriate, suspend, revise, or rescind the:

  • Final rule: “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands”

  • Final rule: “General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights”

  • Final rule: “Management of Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights”

  • Final rule: “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation”

Directs the secretary of the interior to notify the attorney general of any actions taken by the secretary related to the rules above, so that the Department of Justice can provide notice to any court with jurisdiction over pending litigation related to those rules. The attorney general may request that the court stay the litigation, delay it or seek appropriate relief.  

BLM coal leasing moratorium: In January 2016, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell imposed a moratorium on the leasing of coal on federal lands.

  • This threatens 15,000 direct mining jobs and another 60,000 indirect jobs.

  • Coal produced on federal lands represents more than 40 percent of current domestic supply of coal used to generate low-cost, reliable electricity.

Directs the interior secretary to lift the coal leasing moratorium on federal lands. 

OMB social cost of greenhouse gases estimates: The Obama Office of Management and Budget created the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, which established a government wide estimate for the “social cost” of emitting a ton of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide.

  • The IWG based its “social cost” estimates on global impacts, rather than domestic ones.
  • This was counter to OMB’s existing guidance – Circular A-4 – on how to calculate the impact of certain emissions.
  • The IWG’s inflated cost estimates let the Obama administration justify expensive climate regulations on American citizens that would mostly have benefited people overseas.

Disbands the IWG and withdraws a number of its technical and supporting documents.

 

Also, directs federal agencies to ensure that estimates of the monetary value of changes in greenhouse gas emissions comply with OMB Circular A-4. 

CEQ greenhouse gas guidance: In August 2016, the Obama Council on Environmental Quality directed federal agencies to assess the greenhouse gas and climate change impacts of “major federal actions” – such as granting permits and rights-of-way – that require an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Directs the CEQ to rescind the NEPA GHG guidance.

Climate action executive orders: President Obama issued numerous executive orders related to climate change that are unnecessary, unjustified, and were issued for political reasons. These include:

  • EO 13653 (11/1/13): “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change”
  • Presidential memorandum (6/25/13): “Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards”
  • Presidential memorandum (11/3/15): “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment”
  • Presidential memorandum (9/21/16): “Climate Change and National Security”
  • Report of the Executive Office of the President (6/13): “The President’s Climate Action Plan”
  • Report of the EOP (3/14): “Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions”

Repeals all of these climate change executive orders and actions by President Obama. 

Issue Tag: Energy