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E&E News: Young introduces resolutions to undo drilling, hunting rules

Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter

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Washington, D.C., January 31, 2017 | comments

E&E News: Young introduces resolutions to undo drilling, hunting rules

By Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter

Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young wants lawmakers to use the Congressional Review Act to strike down recent regulations on drilling and hunting in his state.

Young introduced two joint resolutions on Friday. H.J. Res. 34 would undo final operating standards for exploratory drilling in the Arctic, while H.J. Res. 35 would reverse hunting limitations in Alaska's national wildlife refuges.

The CRA gives Congress the power to undo regulations enacted within the last 60 legislative days. That means rules released on or after June 13 are fair game, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The Interior Department released the exploratory drilling rule in July. It requires companies to follow numerous safety requirements when drilling in the Arctic, including maintaining a backup rig and having immediate access to blowout prevention equipment (E&E News PM, July 7, 2016).

The Obama administration later withdrew most Arctic waters from oil and gas leasing — a move that Young's legislation would not address.

Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service finalized the wildlife refuge rule in August. It largely prohibits state-sanctioned hunting techniques on FWS land, such as using spotlights to shoot black bears while they hibernate.

FWS officials have said the methods reduce the number of predators to boost populations of caribou, moose and other prey.

Alaska filed a lawsuit earlier this month challenging the rule, saying that it impairs the state's ability to manage its wildlife resources (Greenwire, Jan. 16).

Young's resolutions are among many Republicans have introduced to roll back Obama-era rules. Lawmakers need only a simple majority to pass the measures, but the process can be time-consuming; each resolution is entitled to 10 hours of debate in the Senate.

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