Thursday, May 11, 2017

Interior Dept. Vows to Amend Methane Rule After Setback

Natural gas flaring in North Dakota. (Credit: Tim Evanson/Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
The Department of Interior plans to try to roll back rules limiting methane pollution and waste from fossil fuel drilling on federal lands, after a bid to repeal the regulations failed in the Senate.

Senators voted 51-49 Wednesday against an effort to repeal the Obama-era rules, with three Republicans joining all Senate Democrats in voting to oppose it.

Methane is a major component of natural gas, and it’s also a health hazard and a major contributor to global warming.  Some escapes from gas and oil operations to the atmosphere by venting or through leaks, and some is burned off in a process called flaring.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, called the control of methane “an important public health and air quality issue” in a statement after he helped vote down the repeal effort. But he called on the Trump administration to “revise and improve” Obama’s rule.

While Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told Bloomberg he has “never been very comfortable” with the waste of natural gas from public land, his department said after the vote it had “flagged the Waste Prevention rule as one we will suspend, revise or rescind.”

Read more at Interior Dept. Vows to Amend Methane Rule After Setback

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