Jun 25, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Congress votes to restore regulation of methane emissions

Oil well pump jacks

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House voted Friday to reverse a Trump-era rule that thwarted the Environmental Protection Agency's power to directly regulate methane emissions from the oil-and-gas sector, sending the measure to President Biden's desk for a signature.

Why it matters: Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, and wells, gas compressors and other industry equipment are a significant source.

Driving the news: The 229-191 House vote — with 12 Republicans joining Democrats — follows Senate approval in April of the resolution under the Congressional Review Act.

  • It's the mid-1990s law — part of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" — that allows filibuster-proof resolutions to overturn recently completed federal regulations.

What's next: The resolution will restore Obama-era policies, but the Biden administration is also eyeing new mandates.

  • The White House said after the Senate acted that the measure will "clear the pathway for EPA to evaluate opportunities to promulgate even stronger standards."
  • While most Republicans voted against the resolution Friday, the oil industry has moved toward supporting methane regulation.
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