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    US Congress votes to reinstate methane rules

    WASHINGTON (AP) — United States (US) Congressional Democrats have approved a measure reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling, a rare effort by Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

    The House gave final legislative approval on Friday to a resolution that would undo a Trump-era environmental rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targetting methane emissions from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.

    The resolution was approved, 229-191, and now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it. Democrats and environmentalists called the methane rule one of the Trump administration’s most egregious actions to deregulate American businesses and said its removal would help launch a broader effort by the Biden administration and Congress to tackle climate change.

    Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, packing a stronger punch in the short term than carbon dioxide.

    “Congress just delivered its first bipartisan win for the climate,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp.

    “Controlling methane is a winning proposition for all sides because it cuts pollution and
    reduces waste.”

    The resolution was approved under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn certain regulations that have been in place for a short time.

    Action on methane was one of just three Trump-era rules targetted by the Democratic-controlled Congress under the review law, a sharp contrast to 14 Obama-era rules repealed by congressional Republicans in the first year of the Trump administration.

    Other rules approved by Democrats targetted Trump-era actions loosening regulations on payday lenders and another that Democrats said gave employers an unfair advantage over workers in settling discrimination claims.

    A gas flare is seen at a natural gas processing facility. PHOTO: AP
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