House Votes to Stop BLM Planning Rule

House Votes to Stop BLM Planning Rule

On February 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 44, a resolution that would halt land use planning regulations finalized by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in December. Known as “Planning 2.0,” the new rule was intended to update the resource management planning process used by the BLM since the early 1980’s. While the BLM cited the significant public engagement over two years that were used in the development of the new planning rule, opponents to the rule said that Planning 2.0 would undermine the ability of local communities and stakeholders to engage in the planning process.

The House used the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a law passed in 1996 that allows Congress to review administrative resolutions within 60 days of completion (not consecutive days but “session days” while Congress is in session). Under the CRA, members of Congress can file a resolution of disapproval that requires a simple majority in both the House and the Senate, and signature by the President, to halt implementation of a rule. Upon passage of the resolution, the rule is stopped and cannot be reissued or a similar rule cannot be issued again.

Members of the new 115th Congress are using CRA resolutions to halt regulations completed in the final months of the Obama Administration, what some call “midnight regulations.” Along with the resolution addressing the BLM’s Planning 2.0, the House also passed resolutions in early February that would halt the Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule and a BLM rule to reduce methane venting and flaring. All House-passed resolutions are moving to the Senate for consideration, and a number of other regulations are also up for review. The Trump Administration has issued a Statement of Administration Policy supporting the resolution to halt the BLM’s planning changes as well as several other CRA resolutions that are being considered.

February 15, 2017