DeGette releases statement on Trump administration’s rollback of key methane rule

Aug 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) released the following statement on the Trump administration’s repeal of a key Obama-era rule limiting the amount of methane that oil and gas wells can release into the atmosphere:

“Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases on the planet. Rolling back this rule now will devastate our efforts to combat the climate crisis, and it’s why I introduced legislation last year to prevent it from happening. There’s no two ways about it: the threat we face from climate change is one of the greatest threats humanity has ever faced. If we’re going to be serious about solving this crisis before it’s too late, we have to cut the amount of methane being pumped into our atmosphere immediately. Rolling back this rule does exactly the opposite. It will allow more companies to pump more of this harmful gas into the air we all breathe and it’s going to make things much worse for all of us down the road.”

Additional Background: 

As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, DeGette introduced legislation in November to block the Trump administration from rolling back the EPA’s “New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry” rule – which the administration announced today it is repealing.

The rule, which the Obama administration put in place in 2016, requires any new, or newly-modified, oil and gas well in the U.S. to capture any methane that reaches the surface – instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

DeGette’s legislation – the Methane Waste Prevention Act (H.R. 2711) – would codify the Obama-era rule into law, therefore preventing the current, or any future, administration from rescinding it without congressional approval.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved DeGette’s legislation as part of a larger pipeline safety bill in January, but it has not yet been brought to the full House for a vote.

Methane is approximately 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and when released into the atmosphere it becomes a leading contributor to global warming.

Methane is the key component to natural gas. By requiring companies to capture any Methane that reaches the surface at their drilling sites, instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, the rule has not only helped to combat the climate crisis, it’s also helped to prevent the waste of a finite natural resource that can be used to generate electricity across the country.

Nearly one-third of all methane released into the atmosphere in the U.S. comes from the production of oil and gas. 

Climate experts agree that reducing methane emissions from these sites is essential to addressing the ongoing climate crisis.