With no votes to spare, Senate Democrats orchestrated a huge setback to President Trump’s plans to repeal Obama-era clean air and conservation rules this morning. With the help of three Republican Senators, the US Senate voted 51-49 to stop the repeal of the Methane Rule.
New Mexico’s Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, key votes to stop the repeal, have been vocal opponents of the repeal and have been active in leading the debate for months. Senate Democrats were joined by 3 Republican senators in defeating the Trump repeal request: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Democratic Senator Michael Bennet tweeted this picture of himself and Senators Udall, Heinrich and Cantwell (D-WA) after the historic vote:
— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) May 10, 2017
In February, ProgressNow New Mexico joined a coalition of conservation organizations to launch a new campaign (methanerule.org) to educate the public on the issue and organize new support against the repeal initiated under federal rules allowing Congress to repeal federal regulations within a limited window after they are implemented by a president.
More than 2,000 New Mexico voters attended telephone town halls, in-person town halls and local actions in Trump’s first 100 days to support Udall, Heinrich and senators who opposed the repeal.
Today’s vote is a HUGE victory for conservation and clean air, but it won’t be the last vote.
Now Donald Trump knows that he’ll face an uphill fight to implement his big oil designed anti-climate and anti-clean air agenda. That’s why we’re doubling down on our work building town halls, actions and campaigns to stand up to Trump’s agenda.
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Oil and gas companies vent, flare and waste millions of metric tons of methane each year from sites across the west. The practice contributes to the nation’s largest methane cloud now hanging over the four corners region.
Proponents of the rule noted that capturing that methane for sale on the market could heat 345,000 homes in New Mexico each year (every home in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces combined) and would generate millions in new public royalty payments for tribes, states and the federal government. A new industry had also emerged to assist companies in complying. At least 5 new New Mexico companies already employed oil field workers in methane mitigation, helping to make oil and gas production on public land cheaper.
The Trump plan to repeal the rule was seen as a giveaway to the oil and gas industry which strongly opposed the plan.
“This is a victory for taxpayers and school children in New Mexico — because we were able to fend off this dangerous repeal, New Mexico will continue to benefit from the BLM’s commonsense steps to prevent the waste of taxpayer-owned natural gas, create jobs and shrink the methane hotspot hanging over the Four Corners region. This also is a victory for the fierce opponents of our out-of-control campaign finance system, which has allowed powerful industries like big oil and gas to wield enormous political power to pad its bottom line at the expense of Americans’ health and our climate. I want to thank all of the advocates in New Mexico and across the country who fought this repeal for many months.”
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