January 30, 2017

To Protect Climate, Senators Must Reject Resolution Overturning Methane Rules

Statement from Jeremy Martin, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (January 30, 2017)—A new resolution introduced in U.S. Senate would roll back the Bureau of Land Management’s standards on methane emissions from public lands. Under the Congressional Review Act, this resolution is not subject to a filibuster and would prevent similar rules from being implemented in the future. That would increase the risks of catastrophic climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Below is a statement by Jeremy Martin, senior scientist for the Clean Vehicles program at UCS.

“Methane is an extremely potent global warming pollutant, and we’re emitting more every year. Cancelling out the strong BLM standard on methane emissions would cripple our ability to fight climate change. It would be a big mistake for the Senate to approve it.

“It makes no sense to take away one of the most powerful tools we have to hold oil companies accountable and rein in a major threat to our climate. If this resolution passes, it would make it almost impossible to set standards for methane emissions from public lands in the future.

“These rules were last updated  during the Reagan administration, and the oil and gas industry has undergone major changes since then—especially in the increasing use of fracking and the pursuit of unconventional sources of oil that result in high methane emissions. The latest research shows that, if anything, we’ve underestimated the destructive impacts of venting, leaking and flaring methane. We have the technologies to reduce those emissions, and we need rules that keep up with these changes.

 “This is a short-sighted decision that puts future generations at risk and puts the energy system of the future further out of reach. Senators who care about the long-term future of our planet need to reject this resolution.” 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.