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Cramer: Uncertainty Equates to Worst Case Regulatory Scenario for Energy Development

Aug 2, 2013
Press Release

Today in a hearing Congressman Kevin Cramer pointed to North Dakota as a prime example of why “one size fits all” energy regulations do not work for the United States. The Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held the hearing to examine the Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act, of which Cramer is a cosponsor. The bill would save taxpayer dollars and protect jobs by ending the Obama Administration’s attempts to rewrite and drastically expand coal mining regulation. Cramer said the Obama Administration continually disrupts the American energy industry by hinting at proposed rules and keeping open the threat of more regulations.

“The uncertainty created by leaked proposed rules has the same impact as the worst case scenario they aspire to,” said Cramer. “Let’s not forget, while there may not be a proposed rule in front of anyone yet, skyrocketing energy prices and bankrupt coal companies are stated goals of the Obama Administration. When our land owners and energy producers have to sit around and wonder what the federal government will do next, it holds up the progress we’ve made in protecting and improving our own landscape and environment.”

Last week, Cramer questioned Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) Director Joseph Pizarchik on the lack of coordination between the Department of the Interior and affected states like North Dakota as his agency moves forward on overhauling the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.

Finalized in 2008 after five years of scientific study and more than 43,000 public comments, the Stream Buffer Zone Rule regulates the amount of distance required between coal mining activity and water sources. Two environmental groups filed lawsuits against the Department of the Interior before the rule could take effect. Shortly after taking office, President Obama settled the lawsuit through a regulatory technique his administration frequently employs, known as "sue and settle". As a result of the settlement, the administration has proceeded to spend more than $8.6 million writing a sweeping overhaul of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule now known as the Stream Protection Rule.

Prior to his election to Congress, Cramer was a member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission where he carried the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act portfolio, which is responsible for oversight of over 100,000 acres of coal mines under permit.

Congressman Cramer is a member of the Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology Committees, including the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Subcommittee on Energy of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.