Big Oil Sends Regulatory Wish List To Congress

The new head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently invited companies and industry groups to submit a list of regulations they’d like to see scrapped. The responses have been coming in — but the American public isn’t allowed to see them yet. That’s because Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants his staff to analyze them first, his spokesman Kurt Bardella told The Hill. The good-government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called on Issa to release the letters immediately. “As the new Congress gets underway, Americans deserve to know exactly which regulations may soon be on the chopping block and who is asking for their repeal,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Only then can the public put proposed regulatory reforms in the proper context and decide whether a congressional response is appropriate.” In the meantime, Mother Jones got a copy of the wish list [pdf] submitted by the American Petroleum Institute, the trade group representing the oil industry. Among API’s desires: * “clarification and certainty” regarding regulations established following the Gulf oil spill; * a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision to restrict oil and gas leasing on public lands; * shorter environmental reviews for onshore oil and gas projects; * preventing concerns about climate change and endangered species from limiting oil and gas lease offerings; * halting any rules on managing oil and gas exploration and production waste before API and other trade groups finish studying the costs; * Department of State approval of a draft environmental impact statement so construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline carrying Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast can move forward; and * striking the regulation that prohibits the federal government from buying fuels derived from Canadian oil sands. Other companies and industry groups that Issa invited to weigh in on regulations include ExxonMobil, the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. For a full list, click here. API came under criticism in the final report on the Gulf disaster released last week by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The commission said the group’s ability to serve as a reliable standard-setter is compromised by its role as the industry’s principal lobbyist and advocate. Indeed, Issa and his congressional colleagues have been well-primed by API to be sympathetic to Big Oil’s concerns: The group spent more than $4.8 million lobbying federally in the 2010 election cycle alone, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In addition, the oil and gas industry was among the top contributors to Issa’s campaign during the 2010 cycle, contributing $31,500, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It’s also among the top donors to his campaign over time, giving more than $118,000. Overall, the oil and gas industry contributed more than $9.6 million to congressional candidates in the 2010 election cycle, with 71 percent of that going to Republicans. ((19 JAN 2011))


















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