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Categorized under: Policy, Super Pollutants

Bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives vote reinstates methane standards, clearing path for stronger EPA rules

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2021 – Today, using powers granted in the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives voted to restore 2016 standards to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The House vote follows bipartisan Senate approval of the same measure in April. With President Biden’s signature, the resolution will clear a path for strong EPA regulations to rein in the harmful super-pollutant. 

“The CRA vote is a positive development, and it must foreshadow stronger action to regulate methane moving forward,” said Sarah Smith, Program Director, Super Pollutants, Clean Air Task Force. “We celebrate Congress clearing a path for the EPA to swiftly move forward with stronger rules to reduce methane pollution across the oil and gas supply chain. Today’s bipartisan vote underscores the strong support for EPA action to address this harmful and unnecessary pollution.”  

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas capable of trapping more than 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over the short-term and responsible for about one quarter of the warming occurring today. At the same time, immediate action now to rein in methane emissions could have a dramatic climate benefit in the short term. Recent CATF analysis found that the U.S. can reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 65% by 2025, all while using currently available technology and at little cost to the sector. 

“Today’s vote is an important first step in controlling methane pollution,” Smith continued. “Next, we look forward to action from the 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, the 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.” 

recent report from Clean Air Task Force and Ceres found that reported methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas sectors vary dramatically among companies and across basins, underscoring the clear need for the EPA to establish a regulatory floor.  

About Clean Air Task Force 

Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. We work towards these objectives through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector. With nearly 25 years of nationally and internationally recognized expertise on clean air policy and regulations and a fierce commitment to fully exploring all potential solutions, CATF is an environmental advocacy group with the bold ideas needed today to solve the climate crisis. CATF is headquartered in Boston, with staff working virtually around the U.S. and abroad. For more information, please visit catf.us and follow @cleanaircatf. 

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