House votes to nix Trump methane rule

The House voted on Friday to get rid of a Trump rule that weakened regulation on a powerful greenhouse gas called methane. 

The measure, passed by the House in a 229-191 vote, has already been approved by the Senate and will now head to the White House for President BidenJoe Biden Pence said he's ‘proud' Congress certified Biden's win on Jan. 6 Americans put the most trust in their doctor for COVID-19 information: poll US to give Afghanistan 3M doses of J&J vaccine MORE‘s signature.

The lawmakers used a legislative tool called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to get around a possible GOP filibuster in the Senate

The CRA allows Congress to target recently promulgated regulations, and such votes can not be filibustered. Democrats in Congress this week also used the CRA to eliminate two other Trump-era rules dealing with lending and employment discrimination. 

The Trump era methane rule rescinded standards aimed at limiting methane emissions from oil and gas production, processing, transmission and storage. 

By voting to get rid of it, the legislators voted to restore 2016 Obama era regulations that required companies to capture methane leaks. 

The Trump rule also got rid of limits for substances called volatile organic compounds from oil and gas transmission and storage.

The rule was also expected to set up an additional hurdle for regulating air pollution by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine that a substance contributes “significantly” to air pollution before it can be regulated. 

Methane is significantly more potent than carbon dioxide, though it doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere.

The EPA estimated that the Trump rule would have added 400,000 short tons of methane to the atmosphere through 2030. 

The vote to get rid of the Trump rule was backed not only by environmentalists, but also major players in the oil industry who say they support common-sense regulations on methane.

But its Republican opponents argued that it’ll negatively impact small oil and gas producers who might be more heavily burdened by regulations.

 

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