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seeking to hold off on instating the rule until January 2019, and it is reassessing whether the rule should be fully “rescinded or significantly revised” in the meantime.


But in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkePuerto Rican police fire tear gas at crowds protesting governor Overnight Energy: Trump officials gut DC staff for public lands agency to move West | Democrats slam EPA over scientific boards | Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of decade Trump officials gut DC staff as public lands agency preps to move out West 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 CantwellFAA nominee advances to full Senate vote Women lawmakers to play in Congressional Baseball Game following Title IX anniversary Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote MORE (D-Wash.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' 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.