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seeking to hold off on instating the rule until January 2019, and it is reassessing whether the rule should be fully “rescinded or significantly revised” in the meantime.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 administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Big-game hunters infuriated by Trump elephant trophy debacle Interior moves ahead with opening wildlife refuge next to contaminated nuclear site 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 CantwellSenators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Poll: Majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Protests and anger: Washington in turmoil as elections near MORE (D-Wash.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani's work for foreign entities 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.