President Trump’s rollback of his predecessor’s policies are moving right along and Congress even went one step further to support the President’s comprehensive energy policy. Just recently, the President’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced he was rolling back more rules the Obama Administration implemented to try to curb energy production.
One rule of significance was geared to open energy production companies to being held legally liable for the accidental deaths of migratory birds. Had the changes not been made could have resulted in jail time of almost a year or $15,000 fines per bird.
Yesterday the Interior Department announced that President Obama’s rules on fracking on federal lands would be lifted one day before they were set to take place.
The rules would have required fracking companies to disclose the chemicals used when extracting oil on federal properties along with other safety measures. Had they not been repealed it would have made it very difficult for oil and gas companies to drill (which was why they were put in place anyway) and were based on the debunked notion that fracking pollutes groundwater.
What was a major debate that has been going on since the 1970’s has resulted in a major blow to environmentalists. Congress approved exploration for oil on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge located in Alaska. The area in question has been estimated to have almost 5 to 12 billion gallons of oil which is almost as much oil in Prudhoe Bay.
Even with the bill’s passage, there is no guarantee that the area in ANWR will automatically be drilled. As NPR points out, drilling in the lower 48 states is cheaper for oil companies and if any that does take place may not for at least a decade. Fortunately, at least access to oil at the site has been opened for exploration and extraction could come soon after if needed.
Environmentalists will, most likely, sue to stop these policy changes. Not out of any sense of conviction to protect nature but because they hate the idea of humans bending nature to improve mankind’s ability to live on Earth. At least for now, these are laudable developments.