The U.S. Senate is considering a House-passed measure that repeals a rule designed to reduce methane pollution from oil and natural gas wells on public lands.
A senate vote is expected by the end of next week. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Methane and Waste Reduction Rule was finalized in November. It requires companies to capture natural gas lost through leaks, venting and flaring. Opponents say it requires oil and gas producers to install costly equipment. Supporters say it spurs innovation and creates methane mitigation jobs. Tracy Sabetta of the Ohio chapter of the National Wildlife Federation says rescinding the rule would threaten public health through increased air pollution, and would waste taxpayer dollars.
There are 90 oil and gas wells operating in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and 500 in the Wayne National Forest. Sabetta says wasted emissions have a ripple effect on the environment and wildlife such as the Indiana bat because methane is a greenhouse gas.
Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio opposes the repeal. His Republican colleague Rob Portman is undecided.