House Bill would Preserve, Reinstate Critical Oil and Gas Pollution Protections

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) along with Chairman Grijalva and Reps. Lujan, Lowenthal and Haaland, introduced legislation to protect the American people from oil and gas methane pollution.

The Methane Waste Prevention Act of 2019 would direct EPA to preserve critical methane protections that reduce methane from new and updated oil and gas facilities, and instructs the Department of the Interior to reinstate and then update complementary protections to reduce leaks, venting, and flaring of natural gas from public lands. The bill would also increase reporting requirements so taxpayers can more accurately know how much gas is lost from public lands, with the potential for further measures based on those findings.

“Cutting methane from the oil and gas industry is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective things we can do to address the impacts of climate change that are happening all around us today. While the Trump Administration panders to the most poorly operated companies in the industry, Congresswoman DeGette and the other bill sponsors are demonstrating real leadership by prioritizing public health, taxpayers and a healthy climate.”

ยท Matt Watson, Vice President, Energy, Environmental Defense Fund

BACKGROUND

This bill comes as the Trump EPA is rumored to be considering issuing a proposal to remove the direct regulation of methane from the agency’s oil and gas rules. Such an action is directly at odds with an overwhelming body of scientific evidence and is likely designed to frustrate the agency’s development of regulations for existing sources, which account for 90 percent of oil and gas sector emissions. The Methane Waste Prevention Act would block the implementation of this and an earlier proposed rollback of these standards by codifying the 2016 EPA methane rules.

The Methane Waste Prevention Act would also reinstate and initiate an update of rules finalized by the Bureau of Land Management in 2016 that reduce leaks, venting and flaring of natural gas from federal and tribal lands. These rules would replace the antiquated policies put in place by the Trump administration, which have failed to conserve taxpayer energy resources or keep methane pollutions on public lands in check.This bill also comes as a chorus of companies and states are moving ahead to cut this potent climate pollution. However, the actions of leading companies and states on their own won’t be enough to reduce methane pollution to the degree required. A federal framework is essential to ensuring the entire industry is doing its part to mitigate damaging impacts to climate, communities and the environment.

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