A great deal has been written about the Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempting oil and gas operations using hydraulic fracturing from the purview of certain federal environmental laws. Far less attention has been paid to George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13211 (EO 13211), entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use.” The executive order requires federal agencies to evaluate the impact of federal regulations on “supply, distribution and use of energy.” This study examined the impact of EO 13211 on United States environmental and conservation regulations proposed and promulgated by federal agencies. The study found that during rule making proceedings, EO 13211 had almost no effect on environmental and conservation actions taken by federal agencies. Most federal agency rules, both proposed and final, evaluating energy impacts pursuant to EO 13211 found no “significant energy action” and accordingly did not necessitate further regulatory review. In most cases, energy evaluation was routine, did not alter environmental or health policy and was reflected in brief, boilerplate language.
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