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May 3, 2021

Developments In Energy And Environmental Policy

As The Hill, in a 52-42 vote, the U.S. Senate invoked legislative powers under the Congressional Review Act to reverse a Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that eliminated methane emission standards for the oil and gas sector and got rid of limits for substances known as volatile organic compounds from oil and gas transmission and storage.

When it promoted the rule under the Trump administration, the EPA estimated that the rule would increase methane emissions by 400,000 short tons over the next decade. The Senate’s action had the support of the energy industry.

The effort is expected to easily garner the necessary votes in the U.S. House to be sent to President Joe Biden and signed into law. That means that, once the Trump administration regulation is eliminated, a 2016 methane rule put in place by the Obama administration will be reinstated. That regulation required the oil and industry to monitor, plug, and capture methane leaks from oil and gas wells.

In related news: according to Reuters, the White House plans to issue a new clean energy standard to decarbonize the power sector, specifically setting a target of getting 80 percent of the country’s power from emissions-free sources by 2030.

Reuters said, currently, the country’s grid is only 40 percent clean, but getting to 80 percent by 2030 “can be achieved with existing technologies at no additional cost to ratepayers in every region because the cost of renewables and batteries have come down so much, according to a new analysis by researchers at Energy Innovation and the University of California, Berkeley.”