A highlight from Senate Votes To Restore Regulations On Climate-Warming Methane Emissions

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Congress wants to revive rules limiting the oil and gas industries leaks of methane. Methane is a significant source of human caused greenhouse gases. Npr's jeff brady's covering the story jeff. Good morning good morning when we say revive rules. What are lawmakers trying to do. Well i need to re reverse a trump administration regulation from last year that essentially rolled back previous rules limiting methane leaks from oil and gas and with the trump rules gone stricter obama era regulations would be reinstated those required to look for and plug leaks across the production process from the well to pipelines and and valves along the way this is the first time democrats have used the congressional review act to eliminate rules from the last administration. You may remember Republicans use the law quite a bit at the start of the trump administration. It's significant that. Democrats are choosing methane for this action because scientists. Tell us that fixing those leaks now. It provides a jump start on addressing climate. Change is interesting so it's like a regulatory yoyo. Obama did one thing trump went the other way. Now they're going back again but what makes methane such a big deal. Well methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than the one we mostly have heard of carbon dioxide some estimates show it has more than eighty times the heat trapping power of co two at least for the first two decades that it's the atmosphere and environmental defense fund steady recently showed that cutting methane emissions now could save the rate of could slow the rate of global warming by as much as thirty percent. Dan grossman with the group. Says that means a faster. Climate payoff it. We're really going to bend the curve of greenhouse gas emissions to away that we can stave off the most disruptive aspects of climate. Change me half to curb. Quinn reducing methane emissions from oil and gas sector is the easiest most practical way to do that. The white house says methane is responsible for about a third of the global warming we're experiencing now and since the oil and gas sector is the largest methane amidror. The administration says it makes sense to crack down there. What do oil and gas companies think about that. It might be a little surprising because the industry is split on this big companies who are heavily invested in natural gas. They support the obama. Regulations methane is the main ingredient in natural gas and those big oil companies. Worried that if methane leaks aren't fixed that will undermine their argument that gas is cleaner to burn coal smaller companies. They pose the obama regulations. Generally especially those with wells that don't produce much. They say expensive leak control measures could make their wells financially unviable west. Virginia senator shelley moore capito. She argued against the resolution. She said the industry already is reducing methane emissions. We shouldn't demonize an industry that is part of the lifeblood of our economy. We should celebrate the emission reduction accomplishments and look for ways to further incentivize. Those that didn't sway enough of her colleagues though the senate voted to reverse the trump regulations. Gop senators even cross the aisle to vote with democrats now. The resolution goes to the house where a vote is expected in coming weeks. Jeff thanks so much thank you. That's npr's jeff brady. This message comes from npr sponsor. Ford the all electric mustang mach e and a stock car race around a track. The stock car veers off toward a mobile pit crew harnessed to a moving flatbed truck. Visit ford dot com to see a heart racing. Mustang mach e receive an over the air update.

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