WASHINGTON -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a resolution on Thursday which would undo a Trump-era rollback of methane emission controls. The resolution was introduced by Reps. Diana DeGette (CO), Scott Peters (CA) and Conor Lamb of (PA).
If the full House passes the resolution and President Joe Biden signs it, the Environmental Protection Agency would need to reinstate regulations governing the emission of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, at oil and gas production sites. The Trump administration weakened the pre-existing standards in August 2020 and allowed oil and gas companies to release methane at facilities across the country with little to no accountability. Methane, which is commonly released during the extraction of fossil fuels, is a highly dangerous greenhouse gas that warms the planet with 28 times the strength of carbon dioxide.
U.S. PIRG and Environment America had called on President Biden to overturn the Trump administration’s methane standards in the "First Things to Fix" report, which outlined 20 environmental priorities the new president should focus on when beginning his time in office.
Experts from Environment America and U.S. PIRG issued the following statements:
“This smart move by the Energy and Commerce Committee shows they understand that we need to cut planet-warming pollution 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 last year over Florida to the ongoing release of this dangerous gas from the massive Permian Basin of Texas, it’s clear that we must get this problem under control. With this new direction, the Environmental Protection Agency can send 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 near your production sites. It’s time to clean up your business so we can act on climate.”
“We’re grateful to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for 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 for solving the global warming puzzle. Holding oil and gas companies accountable for methane emissions would be a significant climate victory for all Americans. We hope to see this resolution pass the full Congress and head to President Biden for his signature quickly.”