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U.S. News

Democrats to use Congressional tool to reinstate methane rules axed by Trump

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2020. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several Democratic lawmakers said on Thursday they will introduce a resolution on Friday that would reinstate Obama-era regulations for oil and gas operations targeting methane emissions that former President Donald Trump rescinded last year to ease burdens on industry.

Democrats Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Independent Angus King of Maine are introducing the resolution in the Senate under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a 1996 law that allows Congress to reverse new federal rules with a simple majority.

A House version will also be introduced by U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette, Scott Peters and Conor Lamb.

The lawmakers aim to reinstate the 2012 and 2016 requirements for the oil industry’s production and processing segments and the requirements for the transmission and storage of methane and volatile organic compounds that were rescinded in August 2020 by the Trump administration.

“By passing this resolution of disapproval, Congress would be taking swift action to reinstate and strengthen responsible methane emission standards, which is critical to confronting the climate crisis and reducing the air pollution harming communities in New Mexico,” Heinrich said in a statement.

The CRA comes as the Biden administration is deploying all federal agencies to seek potential emissions reduction measures to help achieve the new U.S. 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy is leading interagency efforts to devise a government-wide plan to ratchet down U.S. emissions that it will announce at a climate leaders’ summit hosted by President Joe Biden on April 22.

Methane, a greenhouse gas, has over 80 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide in the short term.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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