Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in co-sponsoring a resolution to reinstate more stringent regulations of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry – the largest source of this powerful greenhouse gas in the United States. The resolution was introduced by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Ed Markey (D-MA).
“I have long been a supporter of efforts to reduce pollution and tackle climate change. Methane, which makes up about ten percent of greenhouse gas emissions, is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is highly destructive to the climate,” said Senator Collins. “This resolution would help protect public health and the environment by restoring the tougher standards at EPA that significantly decreased methane emissions.”
In 2012 and 2016, the Obama Administration issued New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to cut methane emissions through leak detection and repair requirements that required oil and gas companies to check for leaks at least every six months and fix those leaks within 30 days. The NSPS were estimated to eliminate 175,000 tons of methane emissions, 150,000 tons of volatile organic compounds, and 1,860 tons of hazardous pollutants. In 2020, the Trump Administration issued a rule that rolled back these requirements. The resolution would reinstate the original methane rules for the industry.
Senator Collins has long worked to reduce harmful greenhouse gases like methane. In 2019, she introduced the Super Pollutants Act with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), a bipartisan bill to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs)—pollutants that have a shorter atmospheric lifetime but warm the planet significantly faster than carbon dioxide. The bill included a provision to codify the Obama Administration’s methane standards at the EPA. Senator Collins also sent a letter to EPA in urging the Trump Administration to reinstate the NSPS for methane leaks. Additionally, in 2017, Senator Collins voted to uphold the methane standards that limit flaring of methane from oil and gas operations.
In addition to Senators Collins, Heinrich, King, Schumer, and Markey, the resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jack Reed (D-RI).
Click HERE for a PDF of the resolution.