Obama Plans to Undo Bush Rules on Oil Drilling on Public Lands, Among Others
He’ll reverse the Bush executive orders that opened public lands to oil drilling, the co-chair of his transition team said Sunday.
[social_buttons]John Podesta, co-chair of Barack Obama’s transition team, indicated on Sunday that the president-elect would quickly use executive powers to reverse several Bush-era administrative rules, a few of which would have an immediate impact on U.S. environmental policy. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Podesta, the Former chief of staff to Bill Clinton said, “There’s a lot the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that.”
Podesta pointed to attempts by the Bush administration in its dying days to expose tracts of public land in the west to oil and gas drilling. The federal Bureau of Land Management is opening about 360,000 acres of public land in Utah to oil and gas drilling. “They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah. I think that’s a mistake,” Podesta said.
A team of about 50 Obama advisers have already been working for months identifying some 200 Bush policies as possible targets for reversal.
Obama has also indicated he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration’s decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. A decision that seems to be in direct opposition to the Supreme Court ruling that CO2 should be regulated as a pollutant.
Of the major policy areas the Obama administration seeks to reform, changes in energy and the environmental policy may be the easiest to affect with executive power. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel pointed out that of the four areas an Obama administration would seek to reform — financial regulation, tax, health care and energy — energy was one where “you can do some things immediately.”
The list of executive orders targeted by Obama’s team could grow in the coming days, as Bush’s appointees are fast-tracking a number of last-minute policies in an effort to extend his legacy. Other areas of action may include rule changes on stem cell research, reproductive rights, food and drug regulation and immigration enforcement.
Image: Library of Congress