House votes to roll-back Obama rule on natural gas

by Siena Shupe

On Friday, the Republican-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule that looked to reduce methane emissions into the environment. The vote was 221-191 to rid of a rule.

The rule was set in place for the purpose of limiting oil companies that burn off natural gas during drilling operations. It is often referred to as the “flaring rule.”

Ironically, three Democrats voted in favor of the repeal while 11 Republicans opposed it.

A majority of Republican’s argued that the rule is causing a loss of jobs in “energy-dependent” states and is also undermining energy production. Furthermore, the Republicans say that the natural gas rule costs energy companies more than $1 billion a year while also costing states like Colorado $1 million in lost tax payments.

“This rule is a needless burden on American families,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., to the Denver Post.

Many environmental groups opposed the decision to rid of the rule, saying the rule reduces ozone-related health problems such as, asthma attacks and premature deaths.

However, the oil industry has said that the Obama administration rule is not not needed because the industry already has financial incentives to obtain and sell natural gas. According to Western Energy Alliance, methane emissions have been reduced by 21 percent since 1990 even while production has boomed.

The measure will now goes to the Senate and voting will take place in the next week.


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