May 10 (UPI) — The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to kill another GOP effort that was aimed at stimulating U.S. energy independence by scrapping an Obama-era environmental regulation.
The Bureau of Land Management rule, implemented shortly before former President Barack Obama left office, was part of the previous administration’s efforts to get a handle on climate change.
Because Trump has ordered similar moves and Republicans have backed them, Wednesday’s defeat was a surprise to many observers.
Under the Congressional Review Act, federal lawmakers can remove any new rule provided that’s done within the regulation’s first 60 days. That deadline for the methane rule will arrive Friday.
“Less than 48 hours before the end of the Congressional Review Act carryover period, Senate Republicans couldn’t resist trying to sneak through one more special favor for their corporate donors,” Robert Weissman, president of the watchdog Public Citizen, said in a statement. “Instead, common sense prevailed.”
Methane, scientists say, accelerates climate change and Obama’s administration said in issuing the new rule that it would prevent 180,000 tons of methane from being emitted into the atmosphere.
“Today is a victory for our public lands and for the health of families across America, and a defeat for Donald Trump, corporate polluters, and their friends on Capitol Hill,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said. “No matter how much corporate polluters and their allies in the White House and Capitol Hill rant and rave, they will never drown out the voices of millions of Americans.”
Wednesday marked the first time since Trump took office that a repeal attempt under the CRA failed. Thirteen previous efforts — including repeals of Obama-era efforts on fuel efficiency and national monuments — all passed.
The House easily passed the repeal in January and the Senate sat on it for two months before voting.