• Search
Olivier Douliery/CNP via ZUMA

Trump Just Suffered a Big Defeat on the Environment

The Senate voted down an effort to repeal a key Obama climate rule.
This story was originally published by Mother Jones.

Environmentalists got some rare good news Wednesday when the Senate narrowly rejected a GOP effort to repeal an Obama-era regulation limiting methane emissions on public lands.

President Donald Trump faces a May 11 deadline to overturn a number of Obama-era regulations through a simple majority vote in Congress under a law known as the Congressional Review Act. The oil and gas industry lobbied hard for Congress to use the CRA to repeal Department of Interior's methane rule, which requires energy companies to upgrade equipment and monitoring to prevent venting and leaking of methane—a power greenhouse gas—on public lands. The rule also restricts a practice know as "flaring," which is when oil and gas operators leak and burn off excess gas.

The House passed a resolution to repeal the methane rule in February, but the bill stalled in the Senate as some Republicans expressed concern that such a bill would prevent the government from enacting "substantially similar" regulations in the future. Methane leaks are not just a safety hazard and a driver of climate change, they also waste natural gas that would otherwise be used as fuel. Using the CRA to undo the rule would have permanently handicapped efforts to control methane.

Olivier Douliery/CNP via ZUMA

Environmentalists got some rare good news Wednesday when the Senate narrowly rejected a GOP effort to repeal an Obama-era regulation limiting methane emissions on public lands.

President Donald Trump faces a May 11 deadline to overturn a number of Obama-era regulations through a simple majority vote in Congress under a law known as the Congressional Review Act. The oil and gas industry lobbied hard for Congress to use the CRA to repeal Department of Interior's methane rule, which requires energy companies to upgrade equipment and monitoring to prevent venting and leaking of methane—a power greenhouse gas—on public lands. The rule also restricts a practice know as "flaring," which is when oil and gas operators leak and burn off excess gas.

The House passed a resolution to repeal the methane rule in February, but the bill stalled in the Senate as some Republicans expressed concern that such a bill would prevent the government from enacting "substantially similar" regulations in the future. Methane leaks are not just a safety hazard and a driver of climate change, they also waste natural gas that would otherwise be used as fuel. Using the CRA to undo the rule would have permanently handicapped efforts to control methane.

MORE FROM Politics
OUR PARTNERS