Make Congress Great Again?

During its first week in session, the 115th Congress passed two bills aimed at reining in the executive branch’s powers. If signed into law, these bills could significantly impact the oil and gas industry, which has been caught in the crosshairs of the Obama administration’s energy and environmental agenda.

On January 4, the House of Representatives approved the Midnight Rules Relief Act, largely along party lines. The Midnight Rules Relief Act amends the Congressional Review Act (“CRA”) and gives Congress authority to revoke regulations issued in the last 60 days of a president’s term. The CRA already allows Congress to overturn regulations individually, but the new legislation empowers Congress to rescind multiple regulations with a single vote.

The CRA was passed in 1996 as part of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” The CRA created a period of 60 “session days” during which Congress could use expedited procedures to overturn a regulation. During this 60-day period, Congress could pass a resolution of disapproval that would not be subject to Senate filibusters; however, the president could still veto the resolution. This rendered the CRA toothless: to overturn a regulation, the same president who approved the regulation would need to sign the resolution seeking to repeal it (or, Congress would need to override his veto).

The rare conditions where the CRA could be used played out in 2001. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) had promulgated an extremely controversial regulation requiring employers to take measures to curb ergonomic injuries in the workplace. The OSHA rule was issued in November 2000, in the waning days of the Clinton Administration. The Republican-controlled Congress voted to revoke the ergonomics regulation in March 2001, and newly-elected President George W. Bush signed the resolution of disapproval.

Some of President Obama’s “midnight” regulations restrict methane production on public lands, impose renewable fuel standards, and prohibit new offshore oil and gas leasing. According to one estimate, all of President Obama’s “midnight” regulations could cost up to $44 billion.

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Recommended Reading: Deregulation and the Trump Administration

Kelley Drye attorneys partner Ira T. Kasdan and associate Mindy B. Pava co-authored The Hill article “Option for deregulation under the Trump administration: Agency non-enforcement.” The article notes that it remains unclear how the Trump administration plans to nullify scores of regulations promulgated and executive actions taken by the Obama administration. While the Trump administration is likely to issue an executive order suspending any new regulation that has not been finalized or published in the Federal Register, but they face a higher hurdle in attempting to rescind final rules that have already been published in the Federal Register and taken effect. Mr. Kasdan and Ms. Pava suggest that officials should consider the idea of issuing an executive order suspending the enforcement of certain rules.

To read the full article, please click here.

Thank You Veterans!

The team at Fracking Insider is honored to work alongside a number of distinguished veterans, including our own fearless leader, John Wittenborn (USAF Ret.), and we are proud of the veterans in our families as well (Thanks Pop!). In honor of Veterans Day, the veterans in our lives, and all the men and women who served, Fracking Insider humbly compiled the following resources for helping veterans find jobs in the oil and gas industry. Giving a veteran a job is not a bad way to say thanks.


Thanks Vets!

Interesting Stats from EIA on the Proliferation of Horizontal Drilling

“In 2015 nearly 77% of the most prolific U.S. oil wells, or those producing more than 400 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day, were horizontally drilled wells. For about 85,000 moderate rate wells producing in 2015, defined here as more than 15 BOE per day and up to 400 BOE per day, 42% were drilled horizontally. Of the approximately 370,000 lowest-rate, marginal oil wells in 2015, also known as stripper wells, only about 2% were horizontal wells.”—EIA


An Interesting Perspective from EIA for Fans of Baseball, History, and Domestic Energy

“On Tuesday, the Cleveland Indians are set to host the Chicago Cubs in game six of the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series. In the 68 years since the last title for the Cleveland Indians, and the 108 years since the last World Series title for the Chicago Cubs, energy production and consumption patterns in the United States have changed a great deal…In 1908, the last time the Cubs won the World Series, the United States produced less than half a million barrels per day (b/d) of oil, with crude oil production having only started approximately 50 years earlier. At that time, crude oil was mainly refined to produce kerosene for use in lamps. The first Ford Model T automobile was produced in 1908, kicking off a shift in demand for petroleum products from kerosene for lamps to gasoline for automobiles….The last time the Cleveland Indians won the World Series, in 1948, the United States produced 5.5 million b/d of crude oil. Crude oil production had been steadily increasing since declines in the 1930s and would continue to increase until production declines in the 1970s.”—EIA


Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly


Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Congressional Energy Roundup (Week of October 3, 2016)

Fracking Insider Readers: Below, please find this week’s Congressional activity on oil and gas issues:


“Examining the Local Impacts of EPA’s Climate Regulations.” Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. October 5, 2016. 1:00 PM EST.


“Tribal Prosperity and Self-Determination through Energy Development.” Committee on Natural Resources. October 4, 2016. 10:00 AM MST.

Please note: Both of the hearings are field hearings, and will not occur in Washington, DC. The House Natural Resources hearing’s start time is Mountain Standard Time, which is two hours behind Eastern Standard Time. Therefore the hearing starts at noon on the east coast.

Congressional Energy Roundup (Week of September 19, 2016)

Fracking Insider Readers: Below, please find this week’s Congressional activity on oil and gas issues:


“Impacts of the Obama Council on Environmental Quality Final Guidance for GHG Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change.” Committee on Natural Resources. September 21, 2016. 10:00 AM EST.

“Examining Misconduct and Intimidation of Scientists by Senior DOE Officials.” Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy, Subcommittee on Oversight. September 21, 2016. 10:00 AM EST.

“The Status of the Federal Government’s Management of Wolves.” Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. September 21, 2016. 2:00 PM EST.

“Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles.” Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Power. September 22, 2016. 10:00 AM EST.

Congressional Energy Roundup (Week of September 12, 2016)

Fracking Insider Readers: Below, please find this week’s Congressional activity on oil and gas issues:


“H.R. 5780, the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act.” Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Federal Lands. September 14, 2016. 10:00 AM EST.

“A Solution in Search of a Problem: EPA’s Methane Regulations.” Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Environment. September 15, 2016. 9:30 AM EST.

“A Review of Recently Completed United States Army Corps of Engineers Chief’s Reports.” Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. September 15, 2016. 9:30 AM EST.

“The Department of Energy’s Role in Advancing National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States.” Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Power. September 15, 2016. 10:00 AM EST.

Congressional Energy Roundup (Week of September 6, 2016)

Fracking Insider Readers: Below, please find this week’s Congressional activity on oil and gas issues:


“Eastern Mediterranean Energy: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Regional Priorities.” Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy. September 8, 2016. 2:00 PM EST.

“Asia’s Growing Hunger for Energy: U.S. Policy and Supply Opportunities.” Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. September 8, 2016. 3:00 PM EST.

UPDATE: Extreme Anti-Fracking Measures Fail to Make Ballot in Colorado

Two anti-fracking ballot initiatives that were pushed by a group calling itself “Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development” have failed to make the November ballot, the only two initiatives that failed to qualify of the nine initiatives submitted to the Secretary of State for certification. The Secretary of State’s office said that, in a random sample of signatures submitted for the initiatives, it found several potentially forged signature lines. It sent the questionable signatures to the state attorney general’s office for further inquiry. Initiative 75 would have enabled localities to ban fracking, and Initiative 78 would have increased the setback requirement for new wells. (See our previous coverage of Initiative 78 here.)