Senate Votes to Reinstate Methane Rules, House of Representatives Up Next

In a historic, bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a resolution last week to reinstate commonsense safeguards that cut methane waste from oil and gas operations. 

Now it’s the House’s turn to pass House Joint Resolution 34 and demonstrate bipartisan support to put methane rules back on track. 

Cutting methane waste and pollution is key to meeting the Biden administration’s  new greenhouse gas pollution reduction target. Methane is a potent  climate pollutant, over 80 times more powerful than CO2 over a 20-year timeframe, and is responsible for about a quarter of the warming that we are experiencing today.

Methane is also the primary component of natural gas. By cutting methane emissions from the supply chain, companies can actually bring more American energy to market and increase royalty and tax revenue for state, tribal and local governments. 

CMES applauds Senator Heinrich (D-NM) for leading this effort and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and Rob Portman (R-OH) for supporting it. These lawmakers understand that reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is the single fastest, most cost-effective way to slow the rate of warming today—and it can be done by harnessing existing technologies to support local businesses, jobs, and our economy. 

Reducing energy waste from oil and gas operations is a triple win for jobs, energy security, and climate; that is why both large and independent oil and gas companies like Shell, Equinor, BP, Pioneer, Jonah Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Devon Energy and EQT as well as the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America support using the Congressional Review Act to reinstate methane rules which help provide market certainty and reduce concerns about their operations. Moreover, many of the nation’s electric utilities, including their trade association, the Edison Electric Institute, have come out in support of a return to sensible methane policy. 

The Senate and House resolutions to reinstate federal methane rules compliment the policies already adopted or under consideration at the state level, such as those in Colorado, Ohio, and Wyoming that require oil and gas operators to inspect their equipment regularly and fix leaks quickly when they find them. It will also ensure there is a strong national floor for methane regulation to provide regulatory certainty across the country.

In taking this important step, the Senate has moved the country closer to re-establishing a sensible set of rules that would provide clear, attainable standards for industry to use to plan and incorporate throughout their operations.