Environment

GOP Effort to Roll Back Methane Regulation Fails

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Here's some good news for a change.

Our Republican-controlled Senate failed to muster a simple majority to roll back an Obama-era regulation of methane gas emissions on public lands.

The vote was 51-49 in the Republican-led Senate with three GOP lawmakers — Maine’s Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona — joining forces with the Democrats to block efforts to overturn the rule.

President Barack Obama finalized a rule in November that would force energy companies to capture methane that’s burned off or “flared” at drilling sites because it earns less money than oil.

Several Midwestern Republicans announced last week that they would oppose the measure unless they also received regulatory exemptions for the ethanol industry, but that is obviously not why the measure failed.

As of this writing, I could not find a report stating the reasons why Senators Collins, McCain and Graham opposed the measure. I want to say their opposition could have been a warning shot across the bow of Mitch McConnell who is actively obstructing the investigation of the Trump campaign's relationship with the Russians, but that assumes a level of integrity that I'm not convinced any of them possess.

Unless the Senate votes on the measure again almost immediately, it will not be able to roll back the regulation. The Congressional Review Act allows the Senate to bypass filibusters and roll back regulations with a simple majority, but only if the regulations are relatively recent. The window of opportunity to easily roll back some Obama-era regulations is closing.

  • swift_4

    I would not be surprised if it was as simple as McCain giving a little screwage to Trump in an area that will not get noticed. McCain is losing his sanity, but I don’t think he’s going to forget what Trump said about him and POWs in general.

    Collins might care about the issue, or might see this as a small potatoes issue that she can use to make her “moderate Republican” disguise more convincing.

    • ninjaf

      I thought she wasn’t running for re-election. Am I confusing her with someone else?

  • muselet

    Republicans and industry groups call the rule an example of federal overreach under Obama and say it duplicates state rules in place throughout the West.

    1) How can it be “federal overreach” when the rule only affects federal lands? New talking points, please.

    2) State rules do not apply to federal lands.

    This is good news. Expect a concerted effort to make things worse to begin shortly.

    –alopecia

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