… contemporaneous with the Supreme Court’s decision, several agencies promptly doubled down on efforts to strangle the oil and gas industries with regulatory restrictions, essentially daring the courts or anyone else to stop them. Thousands of pages of statutes give them thousands of arguments to claim they have the “clear congressional authorization,” any one of which arguments might stick. They are now out to show who’s boss.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan wasted no time in getting a statement out on the afternoon of June 30. Excerpt:
[W]e are committed to using the full scope of EPA’s authorities to protect communities and reduce the pollution that is driving climate change. . . . EPA will move forward with lawfully setting and implementing environmental standards that meet our obligation to protect all people and all communities from environmental harm.
In other words, we will just have to find other ways to implement the restrictions that we want to implement. The very next day, July 1, David Blackmon at Forbes reported that “EPA Targets Permian Basin, Widening Biden’s War On Oil And Gas.” The Permian Basin is currently the most productive oil and gas region in the United States, providing about 40% of the oil production and 15% of the gas of the entire country. The Permian Basin is also the site of about 40% of the nation’s active drilling rigs. And so it seems that EPA is gearing up to declare the Permian Basin a so-called “non-attainment area” with respect to ozone. Blackmon:
[T]he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced [this week that] it may soon issue a ruling declaring that vast parts of the Permian Basin are in “non-attainment” status under the agency’s ozone regulations. If such a declaration is made, it will constitute a direct governmental assault on what is by far America’s most active and productive oil-producing region and its second most-productive natural gas area.
What would be the effect of such a declaration on current and future U.S. domestic oil and gas production? Blackmon again:
Placing the Permian Basin in non-attainment status would force a significant reduction in the region’s rig count, severely limiting the domestic industry’s efforts to increase U.S. oil production at a time when the global oil market is already severely under-supplied.
. . .
Meanwhile, over at the Interior Department, July 1 was also the day for issuance of a statutorily-mandated five-year off-shore oil and gas leasing plan. Nicholas Groom at Reuters has a summary here. The bottom line is, we’re going to completely shut down leasing off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but maybe we’ll allow a little in the Gulf of Mexico or the Cook Inlet (Alaska).
There’s more at the link.
That’s typical of bureaucrats, of course. Don’t like a Supreme Court ruling? Defy it. Circumvent it with every paper-shuffling, buck-passing trick at your disposal. Deny, delay, obfuscate. Ignore complaints. It’s not just Democrat administrations that do it, either. The entrenched bureaucracy that implements (?) the decisions of every administration (the so-called “Deep State”) plus the political appointees of every President have always sought ways to do what they want to do, rather than what they should do or what the law says they must do. Lincoln’s abrogation of the right of habeas corpus comes to mind, to cite just one example.
I don’t know what can be done about this. The courts, up to and including the Supreme Court, can issue rulings and injunctions for all they’re worth; but if the powers that be are determined to ignore or circumvent them, there’s no immediate remedy for that. The rule of law is already honored more in the breach than in the observance in many ways in these formerly United States. Nowadays, it all too often depends on one’s politics to determine whether or not the law will operate in one’s favor.
Just don’t expect the Biden administration to be bound by the rule of law, or the decision of courts of law, from the lowest to the highest. It’s partisan in the extreme, and ruthless in its determination to do whatever it wants to achieve its objectives. It won’t be stopped by laws or lawsuits. It’ll need stronger measures than mere words.