Chris Kearney | NSWA Vice President, Governmental Affairs
Official Washington is in “pause” mode as it awaits the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President on January 20th. While Congress has officially been sworn in and begun ceremonial proceedings associated with 117th Congress, legislative action and steps associated with confirming President-elect Biden’s Cabinet nominees will not begin in earnest until late January-early February. A decision by the Senate on whether to proceed on impeachment may impact the timing of legislative action.
Among the expected actions by the incoming Congress in the coming weeks of the session include: swift action on another coronavirus funding package; an economic stimulus package; and confirmation of key Biden cabinet secretaries (confirmation hearings to be held on January 19th will be for Secretaries of Treasury and State). Later expected efforts include action on an infrastructure package (likely including climate change and tax related provisions) and appropriations bills.
Among the anticipated early priorities of the incoming Biden Administration include: efforts to block and restrict oil and gas operations on public lands, including tightening of methane emissions; increasing emission reporting requirements; and generally a series of actions aimed at driving up the cost of existing operations on public and private lands.
In addition, as part of efforts to advance its Clean Energy/Climate Change agenda, the Biden Administration will likely seek repeal of percentage depletion and intangible drilling costs as part of its efforts to reduce “subsidies” to the oil and gas industry.
Broader actions expected by the Biden team will include efforts to undo major energy and environment related regulations and policies of the Trump Administration. Among them: the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS); the reforms of the National Environmental Policy Act related regulations, and the regulations related to the Endangered Species Act.
NSWA and our federal legislative affairs representative, Chris Kearney, will follow developments in Washington closely, actively engaging with members of Congress and the Biden Administration as necessary, and working in partnership with other associations – IPAA, NARO, KIOGA, and others – to block or slow actions harmful to our membership where necessary.