US Republicans pass bill to block last minute Obama regulations on coal

House Republicans in the US passed legislation Wednesday to block or undo regulations and executive orders recently issued by President Barack Obama.

Congress has now the power to kill in one fell swoop dozens of such laws, dubbed “midnight rules” — those rolled out in the last 60 legislative days of an outgoing administration.

Congress has now the power to kill in one fell swoop dozens of regulations and executive orders recently issued by President Barack Obama.

Many of the targeted legislation set stricter conditions to coal miners and sought keeping the extractive industry out of environmentally sensitive areas.

"Because outgoing administrations are no longer accountable to the voters, they are much more prone to issue midnight regulations that fly in the face of the electoral mandate the voters just gave the new, incoming administration," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte ahead of the vote, Reuters reports. "Waves of midnight rules can also be very hard for Congress or a new administration to check adequately."

The approval of the bill comes as Republican leaders have made public their intention to revoke Obama's rules to reduce methane emissions and lower the environmental impact of coal mining on nearby streams.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told AP he expected the two environmental rules to go as soon as possible, as he believes they curb the nation's energy production.

In the past, lawmakers have successfully used the special law that lets them invalidate a regulation only once. That legislation, known as the Congressional Review Act, requires a simple majority of both chambers to approve a joint resolution of disapproval followed by the President's signature.

In practical terms, it means that any federal regulation passed since May last year could be voided by the Republican-led Congress once President-elect Donald Trump moves into the White House.