Biden signs legislation to invalidate Trump administration’s methane rule into law

Jun 30, 2021
Press Release
Resolution championed by DeGette reinstates key Obama-era methane-emissions standards

WASHINGTON, DC – President Biden signed into law today a Resolution of Disapproval to invalidate the Trump administration’s 2020 Methane Rescission Rule and reinstate two key Obama-era methane-emission rules that set stricter limits on the amount of methane that the nation’s oil and gas industry can release from their drilling sites.

The resolution, which was introduced in Congress by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) under the authority given to them by the Congressional Review Act, rescinds a controversial rule the Trump administration put in place on Nov. 16, 2020 to weaken requirements that oil and gas producers must meet to curb methane emissions from any new, or newly modified, wells established in the U.S.

With the measure now enacted into law, U.S. oil and gas producers will, once again, have to comply with the 2012 and 2016 Oil and Natural Gas New Source Performance Standards put in place by the Obama administration to reduce methane emissions from drilling sites across the country.

“This was a big win in our fight to combat the climate crisis,” DeGette said after participating in a White House signing ceremony for the legislation. “Climate scientists agree that reducing our methane emissions is key to slowing the effects of climate change. While getting this legislation signed into law was a critical first step toward sufficiently reducing our nation’s overall methane emissions, now, we need to do even more.”

Enacted in 1996, the Congressional Review Act gives Congress the power to review and, if necessary, disapprove of certain federal regulations put in place by a previous administration.

The House approved the Resolution of Disapproval to negate the Trump administration’s methane rule on Friday, June 25, by a vote of 229 – 191. It was approved by the Senate on April 28.

As a greenhouse gas, methane is up to 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide and when it’s released into the atmosphere it becomes a leading contributor to global warming.

Nearly one-third of all methane emissions in the U.S. come from the production of oil and natural gas and climate experts agree that reducing emissions from those sites is key to combatting the overall climate crisis.

In addition to the resolution enacted today to reinstate the Obama-era rules, DeGette introduced a separate piece of legislation in March that would further strengthen those standards and set even stricter limits on the amount of methane being emitted from oil and gas sites across the country. 

If approved, that legislation – known as the Methane Waste Prevention Act of 2021 – will require U.S. oil and gas producers operating on public lands to cut their methane emissions by at least 90 percent by 2030.  

Click here for a copy of the resolution signed into law today.

Click here for a copy of DeGette’s Methane Waste Prevention Act.