Energy & Environment

Graham to vote with Democrats to reverse Trump methane rule

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will vote with Democrats to reverse a Trump administration rule limiting regulation of methane from the oil and gas sector, joining at least one other Republican in doing so. 

“I think it’s just unnecessary emissions that they can do something about, and they’ll need to do it,” Graham told reporters, noting that in 2017 he voted against a GOP attempt to nix Obama-era methane regulations.

On Wednesday, senators are expected to vote to undo a Trump-era rule that rescinded methane emission limits and made it harder to regulate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas sector. 

Lawmakers are poised to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows them to eliminate regulations completed in the prior 60 legislative days with a simple majority vote.

Graham is expected to join Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in supporting the Democrat-led measure.

Collins joined the resolution as a co-sponsor, telling The Hill last week that it would “help protect public health and the environment by restoring the tougher standards at EPA that significantly decreased methane emissions.”

The rule, which is estimated to add an extra 400,000 short tons of methane to be emitted over the next decade, is the first one that Democrats have targeted using CRA.

The move to undo the Trump-era rule is supported by environmentalists but also several major oil companies that support direct regulation of methane, which is more powerful than carbon dioxide and can be leaked during fuel production. 

However, when it put the rule forward, the Trump administration argued that it would help smaller and medium-sized companies that they characterized as “heavily” burdened by Obama-era methane regulations.

Tags Climate change Lindsey Graham Methane Susan Collins
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