Senate votes to restore EPA methane regulations - Albuquerque Journal

Senate votes to restore EPA methane regulations

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., speaks before a Senate vote on methane regulations on Wednesday. On display at Heinrich’s left are infrared images of methane emissions at a Permian Basin oil site. (Source: C-SPAN)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to overturn Trump-era rollbacks on Environmental Protection Agency methane regulations.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., led the push for the joint resolution to restore federal methane standards at oil and gas pipelines, wells, and storage facilities.

“When we set clear rules and emission standards, most oil and gas operators are on board with updating their equipment and practices to minimize methane leaks and to bring that gas to market,” Heinrich said before the 52-42 vote. “That’s their business plan, not wasting methane.”

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the main ingredient in natural gas.

Senate passage of the resolution, enabled by a law allowing Congress to overturn rules issued by federal agencies, follows a long battle over the EPA’s authority to monitor the pollutant.

The EPA under President Barack Obama in 2012 and 2016 finalized methane monitoring at oil and gas production sites, and transmission infrastructure.

The Trump administration officially repealed the rules in 2020. The EPA cited “redundant” regulations as reason for the rollback and estimated industry compliance cost savings of up to $19 million a year.

Resolution co-sponsor Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said it would reinstate “commonsense” rules that had been “gutted.”

“Time is running out. Greenhouse gas emissions are fueling the climate crisis, and present a real and urgent threat to the health, safety, and well-being of New Mexico families,” Luján said. “… Each year, New Mexico loses hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from methane flaring, venting and leaking. The cost of inaction is too great.”

Last month, New Mexico banned routine venting and flaring of natural gas, and set gas capture targets for operators.

Environmental groups said the Senate action will help oil-producing states reduce harmful emissions.

“New Mexico has an enormous methane emissions problem, which requires the federal government, state agencies and industry take immediate comprehensive action,” said Demis Foster, executive director of Conservation Voters New Mexico. “(This resolution) is critical to this effort.”

The House is expected to vote on the resolution next month.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 

Election Guide

Home » Business » Energy » Senate votes to restore EPA methane regulations


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Picture perfect 50th Balloon Fiesta opening
ABQnews Seeker
In what can only be described ... In what can only be described as a picture perfect morning, about 625 balloons launched in a mass ascension early Saturday as the 50th ...
2
Ian lashes South Carolina as Florida's death toll climbs
ABQnews Seeker
A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal ... A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in ...
3
Man found guilty in 2019 shooting death
ABQnews Seeker
Police: Argument outside woman's house led ... Police: Argument outside woman's house led to fight
4
Federal judge bars IDing defendant as SNM gang member
ABQnews Seeker
Man convicted on firearms charges Man convicted on firearms charges
5
Prep football: Cibola stays unbeaten, tops Atrisco Heritage
ABQnews Seeker
For the first time in a ... For the first time in a month, no comeback was required for the Cibola Cougars. Cibola has been living on the edge in recent ...
6
Lawsuit filed after in-custody death in McKinley County
ABQnews Seeker
Suit denounces incident as a ‘violent ... Suit denounces incident as a ‘violent and abhorrent killing’
7
Visitor center now completed, but not yet unlocked
ABQnews Seeker
Route 66 Visitor Center is ribbon-cut ... Route 66 Visitor Center is ribbon-cut ready, but won't open until 2023
8
Two MDC officers testify in their trial over inmate's ...
ABQnews Seeker
Each is charged with involuntary manslaughter, ... Each is charged with involuntary manslaughter, faces 1-2 years in prison
9
Lujan Grisham rescinds six pandemic-related executive orders
ABQnews Seeker
Move is part of a periodic ... Move is part of a periodic review of COVID-19 mitigation measures