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Pallone Floor Remarks on Joint Resolution to Restore Methane Pollution Standards

Jun 25, 2021
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor today during consideration of S.J. Res 14, a joint resolution of disapproval reinstating methane pollution standards: 

Mr. Speaker, today we are here to consider S.J. Res. 14, a joint resolution providing for Congressional disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Methane Recission Rule. This Trump EPA action removed direct federal limits on methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas facilities – essentially increasing pollution and exacerbating the climate crisis.

While we are voting on the Senate version of this joint resolution today, I want to thank my colleagues Representatives DeGette, Peters, and Lamb for leading this effort in the House. The House version of this resolution advanced out of the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month. 

Mr. Speaker, methane is a potent climate-disrupting greenhouse gas that is responsible for approximately one-third of our warming and resulting climate disruption. Addressing methane is an urgent and essential step to mitigate climate change. 

And the greatest and most cost-effective way to curb methane pollution over the next decade is through the fossil fuel sector, which is the largest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA has a responsibility and obligation to protect public health and welfare from dangerous climate pollution like methane. 

But because of the Trump Recission Rule, there are now no Clean Air Act protections in place to curb dangerous methane pollution from the oil and gas sector. What’s more, the Trump rule created massive regulatory loopholes that shield the vast majority of climate pollution produced by the oil and gas industry from critical federal standards for years to come.  

The Trump action was a thinly veiled attempt to block regulation of the worst oil and gas industry actors at the expense of our health, our safety, and our planet. And it came at a time when we need these protections more than ever.  

Without bold action to curb emissions from the hundreds of thousands of sources in the oil and gas sector, methane pollution will continue to cause significant harm to public health, threaten the stability of our economy, and compromise the well-being of future generations and the planet.

That is why this joint resolution disapproving of the Recission Rule and reinstating the 2016 Obama-era methane standards is so important.

Ambitiously addressing methane can yield tremendous climate, public health, and financial benefits across the economy. It is why we see an outpouring of support from business and consumer groups, state and tribal officials, local government officials, outdoor recreation and tourism leaders, environmental and conservation groups, and health and faith leaders.

We even have significant support from within the oil and gas industry itself. 

Today we are using the Congressional Review Act to soundly reject and nullify one of the most egregious environmental rollbacks of the Trump administration.  

With today’s vote, Congress stops the significant retreat we witnessed during the previous Administration in the fight against climate change. And we reinstate an essential tool for addressing the harm a warming world means for our communities, our health, our economy, and our planet.

With today’s vote, Congress restores the robust Clean Air Act pollution standards established in 2012 and 2016, while clearing a path for stronger protections in the future.

With today’s vote, Congress recognizes the danger methane poses, as well as the economic opportunity and certainty created with commonsense and cost-effective limits on this pollution.  

Since the Senate already passed S.J. Res. 14 with a bipartisan vote of 52 to 42, it is now up to the House do the same so we can send the resolution to the President’s desk.  

For the sake of our communities, our families, our country, and our future, I strongly urge all Members to join me in supporting this joint resolution.