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Democrats oppose effort to delay or repeal Interior methane rule

Democrats oppose effort to delay or repeal Interior methane rule
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More than 80 Democrats have asked the Interior Department not to delay or repeal a rule updating limits on methane leaks from oil and natural drilling sites on federal land.

The Interior Department last month proposed delaying implementation of an Obama administration rule to cut down on pollution of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking to hold off on instating the rule until January 2019, and it is reassessing whether the rule should be fully “rescinded or significantly revised” in the meantime.

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But in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeWashington state threatens to sue over Zinke offshore drilling plan Alaska to pilot first Interior Department restructuring: report Week ahead: Feds to unveil annual energy outlook MORE, 81 House and Senate Democrats said the rule should stay on the books. The group cited methane’s impact on public health and the amount of wasted natural gas producers burn off each year, which leads to the pollution.

“We support the BLM’s rule because it prevents the unnecessary waste of a public resource, and makes sure that American taxpayers get fair value in return for commercial use of that public resource,” the group, led by Sens. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellGreen group backs Sens. Baldwin, Nelson for reelection The US is falling behind in artificial intelligence research WHIP LIST: Shutdown looms as Senate lacks votes to pass House spending bill MORE (D-Wash.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallWHIP LIST: Shutdown looms as Senate lacks votes to pass House spending bill Dems harden line on stopgap measure Overnight Finance: Shutdown drama grips Capitol | White House backs short-term spending bill | Mulvaney begins consumer bureau shake-up MORE (D-N.M.) and Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) wrote.

"Protecting the health and safety of the American people is inarguably a core function of government and the rule’s requirements are based on well-reasoned science. Capturing and preventing methane emissions will reduce exposure of hazardous pollutants in our local communities and will provide economic benefits to industry."  

The oil industry and its supporters have urged the Interior Department to scale back the methane rule, saying it's burdensome, duplicative and could cost jobs throughout the sector.