Green River Star -

By Sen. John Barrasso
U.S. Senator 

Barrasso calls rule 'overreaching'


Energy and mineral production is the backbone of Wyoming’s economy and provides good-paying jobs for families across the state. That’s why the hearings this month in the U.S. Senate on a variety of job-crushing energy regulations and policies are so important.

In addition to hearing from key Obama administration witnesses, members of the Senate heard from Wyoming’s own Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) director about the impact overregulation is having on energy-producing states.

WY DEQ Director Parfitt Testifies Before Senate

On Oct. 27, Wyoming DEQ Director Todd Parfitt testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The committee held a hearing on the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSM) proposed “stream-protection rule.” This proposal would represent the most sweeping regulatory change to surface mining regulations in the past 30 years.

Parfitt discussed how OSM is completely understating the cost of this rule and how it will negatively impact coal states like Wyoming. He also expressed his frustration with the Obama administration for not working with states on the rule.

During the same hearing, I also questioned the administration witness about OSM’s lack of transparency and its decision to basically ignore state agencies throughout the rulemaking process. Parfitt and I both agree that the administration should withdraw this rule immediately and work with states on a more appropriate proposal.

Hearing with Energy Secretary Moniz on American Energy Exports

On Oct. 6, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on energy security issues. During the hearing, I questioned Moniz on why the Obama administration won’t lift the ban on American exports of crude oil. Studies show that ending the ban on U.S. oil exports would be good for Wyoming families, good for America’s national security, and good for our allies who are eager to purchase America’s oil.

The president’s nuclear deal with Iran will lift limits on the sale of Iranian oil. Under this deal, Iran will soon be allowed to sell its oil anywhere in the world while American petroleum producers are largely prohibited from selling American oil around the world. It doesn’t make sense that the president would agree to lift sanctions on Iranian oil without lifting the export ban on American oil. It’s time for the Obama administration to join a growing bipartisan group of lawmakers who support lifting the ban.

Overreaching Ozone Rule Finalized

On Oct. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule for surface-level ozone. Ozone regulations finalized in 2008 set surface-level standards at 75 parts per billion and many counties across the nation, including in Wyoming, are making progress but still have a long way to go to meet these standards. The rule released this month sets the level at 70 parts per billion.

I believe this rule simply costs too much. Wyoming and other states have spoken out against this inflexible and unrealistic approach. They know these regulations will cost billions of dollars, curb energy production, limit manufacturing and smother economic opportunity.

Instead of pushing ahead with even stricter standards, EPA should focus on the worst areas of air quality first.

This will ensure that we continue to improve air quality without further burdening our rural economies that have the most to lose under this misguided rule.

Wyoming Comes to Washington

This month, I met with several members of the Wyoming Bankers Association where we discussed the current state of banking and the economy.

We also discussed legislation that would provide sensible, targeted regulatory relief for community banks across our state.

If you are in Washington during November, please stop by the office. Otherwise, I continue to travel the state each weekend and hope to see you sometime soon.


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