July 25, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 125 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 125
(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 [www.gpo.gov] DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES 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. ____________________