(WASHINGTON) With bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to restore EPA rules limiting oil and gas methane pollution from new wells, processing plants and other facilities across the country. The measure, which passed the Senate in April, now moves on to the President’s desk.
“Congress just delivered its first bipartisan win for the climate. Controlling methane is a winning proposition for all sides because it cuts pollution and reduces waste. This vote sends a clear message to EPA that Congress expects stronger limits on oil and gas methane pollution to assure important climate and clean air protections.”
- Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund
Once signed, the Congressional Review Act resolution (H.J.Res.34 / S.J.Res.14) will immediately reinstate provisions rescinded late last year by the previous administration and clear the way for additional safeguards promised by the White House in January for hundreds of thousands of new and existing wells. Facilities, built before 2015, are responsible for an overwhelming majority of industry’s methane pollution but aren’t subject to federal controls.
The original EPA methane regulations were adopted in 2016. In its waning days, the Trump administration rushed to repeal the policy – despite opposition from the oil and gas industry itself – in a move that failed to consider the impact on human health and the environment.
Along with strong backing by health, environmental and local community groups, a broad array of oil and gas companies – from smaller independent producers to multinational oil majors – and trade associations support passage of the methane CRA resolution (full list here).
Once enacted, the methane CRA will clear the path to advance ambitious methane rules by immediately restoring methane standards for new oil and gas sources put in place in 2016. The new source standards for midstream facilities that are restored by the CRA will cut over 300,000 metric tons of methane and 8,500 metric tons of VOC next year alone.
Methane is responsible for at least a quarter of current global warming. The oil and gas sector emits roughly 16 million metric tons of methane annually, resulting in the same near-term climate impact as 350 coal-fired power plants. Recent peer-reviewed science underscores that curbing these emissions is essential for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
Under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, restoration of methane regulation would legally obligate EPA and clear the way for the agency to enact standards for the nation’s existing oil and gas infrastructure, which is responsible for 75% of industry’s methane pollution problem.
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