WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives passed a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that provides significant wins for climate and U.S. industry. The resolution, introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52), Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Rep. Conor Lamb (PA-17), will reinstate two key Obama-era rules that set stronger regulations on methane pollution emitted by the nation's oil and gas industry. On its way to the president's desk to be signed into law, the resolution is arguably the most important action Congress has taken to address climate change in the last decade.
"Controlling methane is vital to advance our country's climate agenda, reinforce our global leadership, and ensure our economic competitiveness,” said Rep. Peters. “Congress' rejection of one of the most irresponsible environmental rollbacks of the prior administration shows we are on our way to building back better and clears a path for stronger protections in the future.”
The production of oil and natural gas is the largest source of methane pollution in the United States. Yet, in September 2020, the Trump administration rescinded critical methane capture rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration. The reversal weakened, and in some cases eliminated, requirements that oil and natural gas companies limit methane from their operations.
Once enacted, the resolution would largely reinstate the 2012 and 2016 Oil and Natural Gas New Source Performance Standards put in place by the Obama administration. Those regulations set limits on the amount of methane that can be released during the production and processing of oil and natural gas, and the amount of methane that can be released during its transmission and storage. Climate scientists say such standards are indispensable to combat the climate crisis.
Methane is a super pollutant more harmful than carbon dioxide and responsible for about 25 percent of the human-made warming we experience today. Because it is short-lived in the atmosphere, taking action to aggressively reduce and eliminate methane emissions can dramatically slow the rate of climate change.
In addition to its climate benefits, the resolution will also ensure the United States is on the leading edge of developing technologies to monitor and reduce methane emissions. Small businesses currently comprise two-thirds of the methane mitigation industry, with 75 percent of manufacturing firms and 88 percent of service firms in the sector reporting that they would create more jobs if national methane standards were reinstated.
The resolution is also essential as the United States strives to stay economically competitive in a world increasingly committed to combatting climate change. Three of the largest liquid natural gas importers globally—South Korea, Japan, and the European Union—have set goals to cut emissions to net-zero by mid-century. These nations will demand verifiably clean gas from exporters, including the United States. Furthermore, investors are increasingly putting pressure on financial institutions and demanding climate-smart investment portfolios. And recognizing these competitiveness concerns, key industry players, such as the American Petroleum Institute, Cheniere Energy and Occidental Petroleum, publicly support restoring methane emission rules.
?Rep. Peters has established a track record of championing pragmatic climate policy. He led and co-led some of the most consequential climate bills enacted in the last decade, including the USEIT Act and the American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership Act that became law through last year’s historic energy package. On Earth Day, Rep. Peters introduced the METHANE Act to further rein in methane emissions and put the United States on competitive footing with the rest of the world.