Three Senate Republicans joined ranks with Democrats on Wednesday to reject overturning an Obama-era regulation limiting methane emission from oil and gas drilling.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, joined ranks with Senate Democrats, leaving only 49 votes in support of revoking the Bureau of Land Management rule, two votes shy of the 51 votes needed.
From Western Journalism
While Graham and Collins had previously made public their intention to vote against the measure, McCain’s came as a surprise.
Vice President Mike Pence had traveled to the Capitol in the event his vote was needed to break a tie vote in the Senate.
The Obama administration’s Methane and Waste Prevention Rule is primarily intended to reduce the waste of methane gasses released during oil and gas production.
“Between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands vented, flared and leaked about 462 billion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s enough gas to supply about 6.2 million households for a year,” states a fact sheet on the regulation.
Wasted natural gas amounts to $23 million annually in royalty revenue for the Federal government and States that share it, according to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report.
In addition to cost saving, the regulation was also intended to help the environment. Methane, the primary component in natural gas, is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide and accounts for nine percent of U.S. gas emissions.
Supporters of the regulation say the benefits of lowering waste during the natural gas production process is a win-win for both sides of the political aisle.
“This rule unites people who care about a traditional set of issues related to air quality, but also people who don’t want to see the American government waste resources and tax dollars,” said Chris Saeger of the Western Values Project.
However, opponents of the rule, such as the Independent Petroleum Association of America, say the regulation is outside the authority of the Bureau of Land Management and imposes “costly and duplicative” regulations on the producers of natural gas.
The IPAA says the best way to reduce waste during natural gas production is to increase pipeline capacities, not more government mandates.
Read Full Story At Western Journalism