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Weekly Column: Rolling Back Federal Intrusion

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

On March 7, 2017, the Senate passed H.J.Res. 44, a resolution of disapproval to overturn the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Planning Rule, also known as “Planning 2.0.”  This resolution, which has since been signed into law by President Trump, rolls back a federal mandate limiting necessary local involvement in natural resources management and affecting multiple use of public lands.  This is one of the approximately a dozen Congressional Review Act resolutions that Congress has passed and the President has signed to reign in the explosive expansion of government intrusion into our economy, our privacy and many other aspects of our lives.

I supported enactment of this resolution because of the concern I heard from Idahoans that Planning 2.0 would weaken local government input into management of natural resources in Idaho and lead to decreased access to public lands.  My fellow members of the Idaho Congressional Delegation, Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), also sponsored, co-sponsored and supported legislative efforts to address the rule. 

The best solutions to natural resource challenges are found through the involvement of those closest to the land.  Local input is essential for sound management of our natural resources.  In an explanation of local government concern with the Planning 2.0 Rule, the National Association of Counties explained, “Counties remain concerned that the Planning 2.0 rule in its current form will hinder meaningful collaboration and consultation with counties in land management decisions.”   

In addition to rolling back the Planning 2.0 rule, the new Congress has been working quickly to enact legislation to stop other overly-aggressive federal regulations that were finalized between June 13, 2016 and January 19, 2017.  The Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides a process and timeline for Congress to consider nullifying rules set forth by the Executive Branch.  The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service explains, “A rule that is the subject of an enacted CRA joint resolution of disapproval ‘shall be treated as though such rule had never taken effect.’"  Since the beginning of this year, the Senate has passed more than a dozen CRA resolutions with additional CRA resolutions under consideration. 

American innovation and job creation must have every opportunity to succeed.  Federal regulations often have far reaching effects—not only adding to the paperwork burden of Americans, but also affecting the ability to afford to hire more people and grow America’s economy.  Regulations must be thoughtfully considered, reviewed periodically for redundancy and outdated policy, and eliminated when needed. 

The effort Congress has undertaken to roll back regulations in need of elimination or improvement is essential for better enabling American ingenuity to thrive.  There are more CRA resolutions slated for Senate consideration, and President Trump’s work with Congress on this effort and his executive actions to extensively review existing federal regulations to determine whether they should be eliminated can help invigorate American investment and ingenuity.

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