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seeking to hold off on instating the rule until January 2019, and it is reassessing whether the rule should be fully “rescinded or significantly revised” in the meantime.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 ZinkeTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog 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 CantwellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans Overnight Energy: Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permit except for Keystone XL | Judge declines to reverse Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget MORE (D-Wash.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Democrats introduce bill to ban chlorpyrifos, other pesticides to protect farmworkers GOP lawmaker says he will oppose any attempts to delay election 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.