Miss. Senators Ask Interior Dept. to Drop Proposed Offshore Rule
Interior Dept. Fails to Show Offshore Activities Negatively Affect Onshore Air Quality, 17 Senators Assert
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., today said the lack of evidence that offshore energy production adversely affects onshore air quality should prompt the withdrawal of a proposed new federal rule on offshore activities.
Wicker and Cochran are among 17 Senators who have signed a letter asking Interior Secretary Sally Jewel to withdraw the “Air Quality Control, Reporting, and Compliance” rule proposed by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
“This proposed rule is unnecessary,” Wicker said. “The agency has already proved that this regulation would not make a significant impact on making inland air cleaner. This is a solution in search of a problem. It is clear that regulatory action is not scientifically justified.”
“This rulemaking amounts to creating a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. The administration’s eagerness to impose new regulations before the end of the year should not undermine facts and basic fairness to states that produce offshore energy,” said Cochran, who serves on the Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Interior Department.
The letter highlights the fact that BOEM has failed to determine that offshore activities violate National Ambient Air Quality Standards in coastal areas. The letter points out that the agency’s own National Environmental Policy Act review, as well as required Clean Air Act State Implementation Plans, have found that offshore emission sources do not contribute significantly to onshore air quality.
The Senators also criticized BOEM for advancing the proposed rule before two ongoing studies, costing $4.0 million, have been concluded. These studies could be completed in 2017.
“Unless and until such studies are completed, peer reviewed, and assessed, it is impossible for BOEM to put forth a credible cost benefit analysis. Moreover, the affected entities cannot be reasonably expected to take adequate stock of or fully inform BOEM regarding the regulation,” the letter said. “Therefore, we ask the Department to withdraw this rule or at a minimum table this proposed rulemaking until the results of its own studies are completed to determine whether or not any regulatory action is scientifically justified.”
The letter, authored by Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., was also signed by Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., John Hoeven, R-N.D., James Inhofe, R-Okla., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Michael Rounds, R-S.D., Jeff Session, R-Ala., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, John Thune, R-S.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and David Vitter, R-La.
Posted July 26, 2016 - 11:31 am