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LAMB LEADS EFFORT TO REINSTATE METHANE EMISSION STANDARDS

March 25, 2021
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) joined Representatives Diana DeGette (CO-1) and Scott Peters (CA-52) to announce their plan to strengthen methane emission standards for the oil and gas industry, overturning a Trump administration rule that weakened or even eliminated limitations on methane and volatile organic compound emissions.  They will introduce a Resolution of Disapproval this week under the Congressional Review Act, which would negate the Trump administration's rule and reinstate stronger standards. The resolution requires only a simple majority of the House and Senate and is not subject to Senate filibuster rules.  

The Trump administration rule was opposed by environmental groups, workers, and prominent oil and gas companies alike, because leaking methane is both wasteful and destructive.  Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, and the oil and gas industry is the largest emitter of methane in the United States.  About 25% of human-caused global warming to date can be attributed to methane emissions, and co-located methane and VOC emissions exacerbate the already large air quality and human health impacts of fossil fuel development on frontline communities, creating climate-related health effects for the most vulnerable including children and the elderly.

“We know that methane is a huge contributor to climate change and air pollution, and we can do something about that at the same time we protect jobs and support responsible energy production," said Lamb.  "We can set real, reasonable, enforceable rules with this resolution and get back to common sense.”

“Time is of the essence in this fight to combat the climate crisis,” said DeGette.  “If we’re serious about wanting to stave off the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, then we absolutely have to take steps now to reduce the amount of methane that’s being released into our atmosphere.”

“The Trump Administration’s decision to rollback methane standards hurt our communities and the planet.  Methane and other super pollutants are more harmful than carbon dioxide and cause some of the greatest damage to our environment,” said Peters.  “The resolution we plan to introduce underlines the EPA’s existing authority to regulate methane emissions – a critical and immediate step to tackle the climate crisis.”

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress the power to review and, if necessary, disapprove of certain federal regulations.  Unlike other legislation, a Resolution of Disapproval seeking to negate a federal agency rule needs only a simple majority in each chamber to be approved. 

If approved, the resolution would invalidate the Trump administration’s 2020 Methane Rescission Rule that has weakened, and in some cases eliminated altogether, requirements that oil and natural gas companies limit methane and volatile organic compound emissions from their operations.

This effort builds off a bipartisan letter that Lamb led in 2020 that would have prohibited the Trump Administration from finalizing its rule.  Lamb also questioned former EPA Administrator Wheeler about the agency’s rulemaking at that time and emphasized his opposition to its rollback at a House Science, Space & Technology Committee hearing in September 2019.

An identical resolution was introduced in the Senate today by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (NM).

Click here to see the full resolution.

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