Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule

Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It’s Wednesday night, and we’re busy watching a Congress split on health care; Bernie Sanders‘s single-payer bill on the left, and a last-ditch attempt at ObamaCare repeal on the right.


The House voted to block implementation of a key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pollution rule.

Lawmakers voted 218-195 to strip funding for an Obama-era EPA effort to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas drilling sites. Eleven Republicans voted against the amendment, and three Democrats voted to block funding for the regulation.

Stripping the methane rule from the books has been a leading goal of the oil and gas industry. Drillers have argued they are able and willing to reduce methane emissions on their own and under state regulations. They say that federal rules will harm their bottom lines.

Republicans have largely backed the industry on the rule.

What is the rule? The EPA finalized its methane rule in early 2016 as part of an Obama administration effort to reduce emissions of the pollutant, which has significantly more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. The rule was a critical part of Obama’s second-term climate agenda.

Why did Congress vote? Essentially, to do what the EPA couldn’t. President Trump’s EPA has proposed a two-year delay for the rule, and public comment on the proposal closed last month. The agency attempted to halt enforcement of the rule while it works to adopt the two-year delay, but federal judges have blocked an agency proposal to do so.

Devin Henry has more here.


The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on stabilizing the ObamaCare insurance markets.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet to consider a number of President Trump’s regulatory nominees, including Joseph Balash for Assistant Secretary of the Interior; Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; David Jonas for Energy Department general counsel; and Ryan Nelson for Interior Department solicitor.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the FCC’s Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone and internet for low-income consumers. Senators will discuss a recent report that found fraud and mismanagement at the program.


Transportation: Senators are wrestling with whether to include trucks in a congressional effort to speed up the deployment of self-driving vehicles.

The issue has been holding up the final release of Senate legislation to enhance driverless vehicles, with Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) instead releasing a discussion draft last week that still has major gaps that need to be filled in.

Trucking is one of the primary industries expected to be largely transformed by automated vehicles. Companies like Uber are already…


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