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Three @GOP Senators put taxpayers, citizens, common sense, nation before Party: #Methane vote

May 10th, 2017 · No Comments

Amid these very tense and troubled times — with the Arctic potentially passing a climate tipping point and U.S. Democracy at (hopefully not past) a tipping point — it is valuable to recognize and even celebrate hopeful signs.

Today, in something that surprised many, three GOP Senators (Collins, McCain, and Graham) voted with Senate Democrats to turn back a Republican Party priority to rip off the taxpayers and worsen our pollution situation.

Whoa. Senate Rs failed to repeal Obama’s BLM rule for methane leaks from oil/gas. McCain and Graham defected: 

Photo published for Effort to overturn Obama’s methane rule fails in senate

Effort to overturn Obama’s methane rule fails in senate

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans were dealt a blow Wednesday in their bid to overturn a controversial Obama-era regulation limiting the amount of methane that can be vented and flared from oil and g…

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a rather dastardly piece of law which has been rarely used prior to the Trump-ista Kakistocracy*.  The CRA, in essence, is that Congress can reject an Administration regulation … and, in doing so, makes it essentially impossible for future regulation to be imposed in that arena. The Republicans have been going hog wild with the CRA, primarily on Obama Administration environmental-related regulations, in ways that will worsen our ability to tackle energy, environmental, health, fiscal, and climate challenges.

The Methane rule that this vote relates to, in short, tackles the reality that oil and natural gas exploiters have been allowing significant releases of methane in their projects on Federal land.

On federal and tribal lands alone, oil and gas companies waste more than $330 million of natural gas annually that could heat homes, power vehicles or generate electricity.

As Methane is, in the near (20-year time frame), about 80 times worse than carbon dioxide for global warming, that leakage is pretty bad from a climate change perspective. It also is a bad deal for the taxpayer: the rules around the leasing didn’t count that leakage for royalty purposes. By addressing that gap, the Obama methane rule created a serious financial and legal incentive for those operating on Federal lands to reduce their methane leakage and flaring.  This will lead to increased payments into the Federal treasury and reduced climate impacts from these projects. All in all, a reasonably good deal for American citizens.

Of course, what oil company wants to pay more in royalty payments? And, of course, that put killing the Obama methane rule on the top of the agenda for Pruitt, Zienke, and other GOP eminences.

But after some key defections from Republicans ranks, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., [and Susan Collins, R-ME] the vote was 51-49 to block the repeal from moving ahead.

In these troubled times, we should recognize and celebrate good news items … and, well, make the effort to recognize and thank GOP politicians when they do act in the public interest.


UPDATE:  Kalee Kreider’s tweet brings a smile to my face …

And, look at Pence’s face:

* Kakistocracy: Government by the least competent and most unethical of society. A word learned with Trump’s ‘election’ (seizure of power?) and seemingly more relevant with every passing minute.


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Tags: Energy