(WASHINGTON) With bipartisan support from all Democrats and three Republicans, the U.S. Senate today approved a measure (S.J.Res.14) to restore EPA rules that limit oil and gas methane pollution from new wells, processing plants and other facilities. The vote follows President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, where methane was a focus of international discussion.
“Strong methane policy is a necessary action for our nation to meet its climate goals and to protect the health of our communities. Acting quickly to reduce methane pollution could slow the speed of global warming by as much as 30%. It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss. In fact, this solution is so sensible that many U.S. oil and gas companies support federal methane rules.”
- Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund
New study led by EDF scientist Ilissa Ocko says that swift adoption of comprehensive measures to reduce methane from oil and gas, landfills and large-scale agriculture can dramatically slow the rate of warming in the near term, and also lower the amount of warming over the long term.
Following the Senate vote, the House will take up the measure for committee consideration and a floor vote by mid-May. Passage in the House and signature by the President immediately would restore critical climate and health protections while clearing the way for the development of sensible new safeguards to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
The original EPA regulations were adopted in 2016. In its waning days, the Trump administration rushed to repeal the policy – despite opposition from industry itself – in a move that failed to consider the impact on human health and the environment. An extensive analysis by EDF estimates the U.S. oil and gas industry emitted over 16 million metric tons of methane in 2019, with a near-term climate impact greater than all the nation’s coal-fired power plants combined.
Support for the resolution ranges from environmental groups to industry, including Pioneer Natural Resources, Occidental Petroleum and the Edison Electric Institute (the trade association for the nation’s investor-owned electric utilities), to name a few.
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