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Senators request offshore rule proposal dropped

WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are joined by 17 others who state that there is a lack of evidence to prove offshore energy production is bad for onshore air quality.  As a result, they requested the withdrawal of a proposed federal rule to limit those offshore activities. 

The senators have signed a letter to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewel requesting a stop on the “Air Quality Control, Reporting, and Compliance” rule that was drafted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The letter focuses on BOEM’s failure to decide whether offshore activities violate National Ambient Air Quality Standards in coastal areas or not. It states that even in their own investigation as required by the Clean Air Act State Implementation Plans, they have found no evidence that offshore emissions contribute to poor air quality.

“This rulemaking amounts to creating a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. The administration’s eagerness to impose new regulations before the end of the year should not undermine facts and basic fairness to states that produce offshore energy,” said Cochran, who serves on the Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction of the Interior Department.

Senators also point out that BOEM has pushed this rule before two ongoing studies could be finished. The studies cost a total of $4 million dollars and would be done in 2017.

“This proposed rule is unnecessary,” Wicker said, “The agency has already proved that this regulation would not make a significant impact on making inland air cleaner. This is a solution in search of a problem. It is clear that regulatory action is not scientifically justified.”

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