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CATF Supports Senate Move to Overturn Weak Trump Methane Rule, Looks to Stronger Oil and Gas Industry Control Standards

April 28, 2021 Work Area: Super Pollutants

WASHINGTON — Today, CATF expects that the U.S. Senate will utilize its rarely invoked powers under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to overturn a particularly egregious rule of the Trump Administration that disallowed regulation of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.  The vote reinstates direct regulation of methane for the oil and gas sector and underscores the broad public support for reining in this potent climate pollutant.

The Senate measure is expected to garner bipartisan support. The measure has been co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins, and several other Republicans are likely to vote along with a unified Democratic caucus to overturn the rule.  The vote will reflect the bipartisan concern of the American public in supporting robust measures to curb methane pollution, as a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult/EDF showed that the vast majority of respondents (79%) including majorities within both parties, support policies that would require oil and gas companies to regularly check for and fix methane leaks.  The leak detection and repair provisions were weakened due to the rollbacks by the Trump Administration.

Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas and is estimated to cause one-quarter of the current warming of the earth’s atmosphere.  As its effects are significantly shorter in duration than carbon dioxide, immediate action now to aggressively rein in emissions from the largest anthropogenic contributor of methane could have a dramatic impact on curbing planetary warming over the short-term.

“Today’s vote will be an important first step in controlling methane pollution,” said Sarah Smith, head of the Super Pollutants Program of Clean Air Task Force.  “Next, we look forward to further action by the House and then action by EPA to strengthen rules for new and modified sources of methane emissions and extend those rules to existing sources. By instating the best practices of methane emissions control across the country, EPA could relatively easily cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 65% by 2025, a level deemed essential to attaining President Biden’s overall target of GHG reduction across all sectors by 50% by 2030.”

Press Contact: Stuart Ross, Communications Director, Clean Air Task Force, sross@catf.us

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