(Extensions of Remarks - July 25, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1066]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2019


                               speech of

                           HON. DIANA DeGETTE

                              of colorado

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, July 18, 2018

       The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of 
     the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 6147) making 
     appropriations for the Department of the Interior, 
     environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending 
     September 30, 2019, and for other purposes

  Ms. DeGETTE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in opposition of this 
amendment, which would block funding for the enforcement of the EPA 
methane rule. This rule will combat climate change, protect public 
health, and capture a resource that would otherwise go to waste.
  The EPA Methane rule will curb methane emissions by estimated 510,000 
short tons per year by 2025. This will represent a savings of $100 
million in natural gas that would otherwise leak into the atmosphere. 
It is important to remember that it is not only methane leaking out of 
oil and gas facilities. This rule would prevent the release of 210,000 
short tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are a threat to 
public health. When released, these compounds form ozone, which the EPA 
has linked to asthma, heart attacks, strokes, and numerous other health 
conditions. Ozone is particularly harmful to vulnerable populations 
such as children, the elderly, and people with preexisting conditions. 
My own district is part of a Clean Air Act non-attainment area where 
elevated ozone is a perennial hazard.
  The health benefits of limiting methane and VOC leaks led Colorado to 
institute its own regulations for containing leaks and preventing the 
release of these compounds in 2014. Those rules, which served as the 
template for EPA's rule, balanced the need for responsible energy 
development with the need to protect public health and even had support 
from companies in the oil and gas industry. Colorado's oil and gas 
industry has continued to thrive even as they are required to find and 
stop leaks. Clearly a rule requiring companies find and fix leaks is a 
win-win, allowing for responsible energy development and protecting 
public health at the same time.
  Furthermore, accidental methane release exacerbates climate change as 
methane is several times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon 
dioxide. Enforcing this rule would provide a climate change benefit 
equal to taking 8.5 million cars off the road. The need to combat 
climate change is only going to grow more pressing as the world faces 
increased harm from droughts, fires, and extreme weather. Colorado is 
already regularly facing low snowpack and devastating fire seasons.
  Colorado's experience demonstrates both the need and the benefits of 
rules curbing methane leaks. Blocking enforcement of this rule will 
lead to wasted natural gas, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and 
worse public health. That is why I encourage my colleagues to oppose 
this amendment and allow EPA to enforce the methane rule.