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Rewinding Regulations to Push Energy and Conservation Efforts

June 25, 2021
Column

A few months ago, I relaunched my Regulation Rewind initiative to highlight problematic regulations coming from the new administration. The executive overreach, particularly when it fails to recognize ongoing conservation efforts of those closest to the land, is particularly disappointing. As the red tape flows from President Biden and his administration, I continue to oppose such regulations that could be detrimental to Nebraskans and the Third District.

Among the slew of executive orders announced by President Biden was one entitled “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” I have issues with the entirety of this order, including provisions directing a refocus of U.S. foreign policy on climate issues, but particularly the section which bans new oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands. In response to this moratorium, I cosponsored the Protecting Our Wealth of Energy Resources, or POWER, Act. This legislation aims to stop President Biden from issuing prohibitions on leasing and permitting oil, gas, coal, and critical minerals on certain federal land without authorization by Congress. Limiting oil and natural gas would negatively impact individuals both in Nebraska and across the country by increasing gas prices at the pump, instituting a greater reliance on foreign energy, and destroying profits from conventional energy production. Broad decisions about oil and gas leasing have always been made legislatively, and this unilateral decision undermines our checks and balances as well.

Another new directive included in the same executive order is 30 x 30. I mentioned this initiative in the introduction to my Regulation Rewind project back in March, but its potentially destructive impact on Nebraskans calls for acknowledgment once again. The President’s goal for 30 x 30 is to conserve at least 30% of our land and waters by the year 2030. I am worried that will quickly turn into nothing short of a federal land grab. I pushed back against the order by first sending a letter demanding more information and meaningful stakeholder engagement on the initiative, and then sponsoring the 30 x 30 Termination Act to outright block the directive of such a radical plan.

Continuing with their overreach, the EPA Administrator Michael Regan recently announced the Administration would begin efforts soon to go back towards the Obama-era Waters of the United States, or WOTUS rule, by repealing the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule. As you may recall, WOTUS would have overridden the Clean Water Act which delegates regulation of navigable waters to the federal government and non-navigable waters to the states. It would do so by vastly expanding the definition of what navigable means to include any water with a marginal connection as navigable. In order to counter this proposal, I sponsored H. Res. 318 to insist the Navigable Waters Protection Rule not be withdrawn or vacated. This week I also joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Regan and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army, Jaime Pinkham, highlighting why revising the Navigable Waters Protection Rule would be harmful to farmers and ranchers in the Third District. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule added much needed clarity for state and federal government authority to protect our water.

Regulations made in Washington directly impact the lives and livelihoods of the Third District, which is why I will continue my Regulation Rewind project to shine light on the overreach of the executive branch. An important part of Regulation Rewind is lending my support to legislative efforts led by my colleagues, which is precisely what I have done to oppose the “Tackling Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad Executive Order” and the WOTUS rule. Working together, we can stand against abuses of power and burdensome rules spearheaded by the Biden Administration to push through their misguided energy and conservation agenda.