Senate GOP Shifts Against Trump On Climate Vote
A hint of the new political environment that Donald Trump faces in the wake of his abrupt firing of the FBI Director under false pretenses came yesterday in the form of a vote in the United States Senate.
Three months ago, three Democrats crossed the aisle to help House Republicans pass H.J. Res. 36, legislation to destroy the rule of the Bureau of Land Management on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation. Yesterday, three Republicans crossed the aisle to help Senate Democrats block H.J. Res. 36, thus preserving the rule.
The rule in question deals with the problem of costly and dangerous waste by the fossil fuels industry. Oil and gas corporations currently waste 75 billion cubic feet of methane every year. Instead of collecting the gas, which can be used as a fuel, these companies just burn it off, with giant flames erupting into the sky, in a process they call “flaring”. Even more methane that results from the petroleum refining process is simply leaked into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels giants say it’s just too inconvenient for them to stop this massive waste.
What makes this widespread practice of burning and leaking methane especially dangerous is that methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas. When it’s burned, it creates carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas.
To add insult to injury, much of this dangerous waste takes place on public lands administered by the Interior Department under pro-oil politician and Trump appointee Ryan Zinke. When the rule of the Bureau of Land Management on Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation goes into effect soon, corporate methane burning and leaking on public lands will be dramatically reduced.
The merit of the rule to stop the dangerous waste off methane hasn’t changed over the last three months. The willingness of members of Congress to stand up to Donald Trump has.