U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette scored a win for Colorado and by Colorado on Thursday when the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved her bill to reinstate the federal methane emissions rule that was first rolled out in Colorado.
Her bill, if it makes it to the president and into law, would invalidate President Donald Trump’s 2020 Methane Rescission Rule and reinstate two Obama-era rules that restricted methane emissions.
The committee approved it on a 30-22 vote, on its way to the House floor. A Senate version of the resolution passed the upper chamber in April, which means approval by the Democrat-led House would send the measure to the president.
You can watch DeGette's testimony by clicking here.
Methane is as much as 84 times more harmful than carbon dioxide when it comes to pollution and climate volatility, experts contend.
The congresswoman's office explained that reinstating 2012 and 2016 oil and natural gas production performance standard could help spare the planet from the "existential threat" of climate change.
“If we’re going to be serious about solving this climate crisis, we absolutely must take steps now to reduce the amount of methane that’s being released into our atmosphere,” DeGette said in a statement after the committee vote. “If allowed to stand, this rule put in place by the Trump administration will set us back years in our fight to stave off the worst effects of this climate crisis."
She read a list of oil companies that supported regulation on methane emissions, including Exxon, Occidental Petroleum, BP and Shell.
"All these companies oppose the Trump rollback," she told the committee. "And the reason they do because they understand what so many of us on this panel know ... . If we're going to get serious about ending the climate crisis we have to get serious about preventing methane waste and pollution."
Federal rules to reduce methane from oil and natural gas operations were modeled after Colorado regulations.
Colorado approved the first state-level methane regulations in the country in 2014, which served as the model for the Obama administration's regulatory framework around the potent greenhouse gas.
Colorado has continued pass new requirements to curb emissions.
In February, for example, Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission unanimously approved a new rule requiring oil and gas operators to use zero-bleed or zero-emission pneumatic devices for new and existing wells.
DeGette introduced House Joint Resolution 34 as part of the Congressional Review Act, a 25-year-old law that allows Congress to review federal regulations.