This move aims to reinstate Obama era methane emissions standards
WASHINGTON — In a bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a Congressional Review Act resolution on Wednesday undoing a Trump-era rollback of methane emission controls. The resolution was introduced in March by Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Angus King of Maine. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine joined Democrats in voting for resolution. A similar resolution is pending in the House, introduced by Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Scott Peters of California and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.
If the resolution passes in the House and is signed by President Joe Biden, it would require the Environmental Protection Agency to reinstate a rule for oil and gas production sites that regulates the emission of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. The weakened Trump-era standards, which were finalized in August 2020, allowed oil and gas companies to release methane at facilities across the country with little to no accountability. Methane, which is a commonly released gas during the extraction of fossil fuels, is a highly dangerous greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent at warming the planet than carbon dioxide.
U.S. PIRG and Environment America had called on Biden to overturn the Trump administration’s methane standards in the “First Things to Fix” report, which outlined 20 environmental priorities the president should enact when beginning his time in office.
Experts from Environment America and U.S. PIRG issued the following statements:
“This smart move by the Senate shows they understand that planet-warming pollution must be cut as quickly as possible to protect the health and safety of all Americans,” said Andrea McGimsey, senior director of Global Warming Solutions for Environment America. “From the giant methane cloud released last year across to Florida to the ongoing release of this dangerous gas from the massive Permian Basin of Texas, it’s clear that we must get polluters under control. With this new direction, the Environmental Protection Agency is sending a clear message to oil and gas executives: You no longer get a free pass to damage our environment and the health of your fellow Americans at your production sites. It’s time to clean up your business and act on climate.”
“We’re glad to see the Senate taking strong climate action today,” said Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG environment campaigns director. “Methane is an especially harmful greenhouse gas and ratcheting down methane emissions is a critical piece of the global warming puzzle. Holding oil and gas companies accountable for methane emissions would be a significant climate victory for Americans.”