January 1, 2018 - 9:00 pm
The Trump administration rounded out the Year of Deregulation in appropriate fashion, rescinding a rule intended to punish oil and gas producers.
The regulation, imposed under Barack Obama, would have added millions of dollars to the cost of fracking operations by piling burdensome and duplicative red tape on energy producers operating on public lands. On Friday, however, the Interior Department announced it had withdrawn the order as part of the Donald Trump’s agenda to make the country energy independent.
The usual suspects are apoplectic.
“The move today represents just another example of the Trump administration sacrificing our public lands, air and water in order to pad the bottom line of oil and gas companies,” Mike Freeman, an attorney for the far-left environmental group EarthJustice, said Friday.
In fact, the rule hadn’t even taken effect and — like many of the previous president’s edicts — was unlikely to survive judicial scrutiny. A Wyoming judge ruled earlier this year that the Bureau of Land Management exceeded its authority when it implemented the proposal, putting its enforcement on hold.
Mr. Freeman may ride a magic carpet to work each morning, but the majority of Americans depend on consistent supplies of oil and gas to conduct their daily business. Sensible and innovative domestic energy development —including fracking — has led to an abundance of cheap and reliable fuel and created an economic boom in many locales. It should be encouraged, not regulated out of existence.
“The technology has been transformational for the industry, driving down the price of natural gas dramatically and so upending the electric power industry,” the Post reported, “while also turning the U.S. into a top global oil producer.”
Fracking is already subjected to scores of regulations at the federal, state and tribal levels. That won’t change with last week’s announcement.
“It was clear from the start that the federal rule was redundant with state regulation and politically motivated, as the prior administration could not point to one incident or regulatory gap that justified the rule,” Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told The Hill.
Not to minimize the tax bill or judicial appointments, but President Donald Trump’s deregulation agenda has perhaps been the defining accomplishment of his first year in office. Mr. Trump, with the help of a GOP Congress, has wiped off the books more than a dozen major rules imposed by Mr. Obama in an effort to curry favor with progressive greens. By rescinding yet another Obama-era attempt to hamstring legitimate businesses, Mr. Trump has made clear that his job is nowhere near finished.