Failed Legislation
Passed in the House on February 3, 2017
Defeated in the Senate on May 10, 2017

Update: July 3, 2017

After the GOP failed attempt to reverse the Obama-era methane flaring restriction, Donald Trump attacked the rule using his energy plan, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt placed a two-year moratorium on the rule’s enforcement. On July 3rd a federal appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot suspend rule and must begin enforcing it.

Update: May 10, 2017

May 10th produced a surprising win for environmental groups when the Republican bid to reverse the Obama-era environmental regulation died in the Senate. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) unexpectedly joined fellow Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) to kill the legislation in a 49-51 vote. GOP/Trump administration officials have said they will now shift their focus to rewriting the rule in the Interior Department and using Trump’s energy plan to target the regulation (Trump’s energy plan/EO and its impending effect on the methane flaring regulation are detailed here).


A bill disapproving of (and effectively nullifying) the Bureau of Land Management’s Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation rule recently passed in the House and was introduced in the Senate. The rule went into effect in the closing days of the Obama administration. It enacted regulations to reduce methane emissions and wasted gas, and it replaced provisions that are over thirty years old. Republican lawmakers in favor of the disapproval argue that new regulations put expensive burdens on the energy industry harming business. LEARN MORE


The waste prevention regulations nullified by the GOP bill are projected to reduce wasteful venting, flaring, and leaking of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and indigenous lands. The Department of the Interior points out that new technology enables businesses to reduce waste and capture oil and gas for economic revenue. The department’s fact sheet estimates that federal taxpayers miss out on $23 million annually in royalty payments from waste, and that wasted gas is enough to supply over 6 million households per year. The Obama Era rule also protects the environment, cutting emissions of methane (a harmful greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide) by 35%. Additionally, environmental and public health organizations have noted that the rule will “reduce risk of asthma attacks, cancers, heart and other lung problems, neurological disorders, and birth defects related to emissions from oil and gas operations.”

Engagement Resources

  • Natural Resources Defense Council – An international nonprofit environmental advocacy group committed to fighting Trump’s “environmental assault” and providing individuals with avenues for taking action.
  • Clean Air Task Force – A nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing atmospheric pollution through research, advocacy, and private sector collaboration.
  • The Wilderness Society – A nonprofit land conservation organization that is dedicated to protecting natural areas and federal public lands in the United States.

This brief was compiled by Conor Downey. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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