Friday, May 12, 2017

NPR - Senators Reject Effort To Roll Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule


Efforts to roll back an Obama rule limiting methane emissions from energy production sites on federal lands failed thanks to Democrats and a few Republican Senators.

“. . . oil and gas producers argue that the regulation is redundant and unnecessary because there are state laws that address the practice and because they say it's in their business interest not to burn off their own gas.

“But critics say the notion of industry adequately limiting emissions without regulations doesn't bear out. They say it doesn't always make immediate economic sense for energy producers to swap out old, leaky equipment with newer, more environmentally friendly models, even if the lost gas costs them money.”


Robert Reich writes,

. . . kudos go to Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, who joined Democrats in rejecting Trump’s efforts to roll back an Obama rule limiting methane emissions from energy production sites on federal land. The vote was close, 49-51. (The White House is also taking aim at a slew of other Obama-era environmental regulations.)

The methane rule is intended to curb a practice called flaring, during which energy producers burn off natural gas that they can't process or sell. That process releases methane into the atmosphere. The Obama administration's rule requires oil and gas companies on federal or tribal lands to capture the natural gas. And it requires that oil and gas producers gradually update well sites with modern technology.

Allowing it to burn off, as oil and gas producers were doing before the rule, not only hurts the environment but also hurts consumers. Between 2009 and 2015, enough natural gas was lost on public lands to supply about 6.2 million households with energy for a year. In money terms, the Government Accountability Office says as much as $23 million of potential royalty revenue is lost annually.

Hopefully now that Trump’s already low approval ratings are sliding further, other Senate Republicans will have enough backbone now to stand up to him.

Senators Reject Effort To Roll Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rule

By Merrit Kennedy







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