While the Senate debates an energy efficiency bill this week, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., wants to have a conversation about federal overreach and what can be done to return functions back to the states. He offered two amendments today that would let states have the final say on regional haze and collecting their own mineral royalties.
Enzi's regional haze amendment would prohibit the EPA from rejecting or disapproving, in whole or in part, a state's regional haze plan if the enforcement of the federal plan does not result in a statistically significant improvement in visibility to the state. His mineral royalty amendment would ensure that mineral revenue for natural resource development on public lands would be paid directly to those states it is owed and allow for states to collect their own royalties, which would eliminate the two percent fee the federal government charges for collection.
"All across the country, our governors and state legislatures are coming up with innovative ways to solve problems locally without federal coercion or mandates," said Enzi. "What my amendments would do is return more control back to the states and once again allow the people closest to the resource to have a larger say in what goes on within their borders. The EPA doesn't need to dictate how a state manages air quality and the BLM doesn't need to be charging states a fee to collect revenue that the states can manage on their own."
These are just a few of the latest examples of efforts by Enzi to return more power back to the states and restore state control of functions the federal government has assumed.
The current Senate majority, which controls the agenda, is likely to block all amendments to the energy efficiency bill, despite bipartisan solutions that could improve the legislation. The majority has only allowed votes on nine amendments from the minority since last July.