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Important Victory on the Methane Rule
May 10, 2017
Happy day! We just scored a major win: The U.S. Senate beat back, 51-49, an effort to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Waste Rule. This rule limits leaks, venting and flaring of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas operations on public lands.
Thanks to all of our great PSR members who spoke out on this important issue. Your pressure helped win the day.
Eliminating the methane rule was a priority for the Administration and the oil and gas industry, so a win here was exciting. The Administration had proposed to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a controversial tactic that allows Congress to overturn recent regulations and prohibit new regulations on the same subject without passage of congressional legislation.
Immediately after the vote, Sen. Tom Udall thanked the health groups that had supported the BLM methane rule and gave a big shout-out to PSR!
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that poses a severe threat to the world's climate. In its first 20 years in the atmosphere, it is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
That's not the only danger it poses. When methane is extracted from deep underground wells, it is often accompanied by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene, toluene and formaldehyde—known to cause cancer and damage the nervous system. Methane and VOCs leak heavily from fracking sites, pipelines, compressor stations and other natural gas infrastructure. The Methane Waste Rule reduces this dangerous leakage.
The U.S. needs to continue reducing greenhouse gases and the harmful air pollutants associated with oil and gas production. The Senate's vote today preserves a public health victory.