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April 15, 2021

King: Methane Emissions a Threat to Climate Goals, Must be Addressed

With Senator seeking to undo Trump Administration’s methane rule easing, he warns of its harmful climate impacts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today stressed the climate dangers posed by methane, an extremely dangerous greenhouse gas released during natural gas extraction. Senator King has been outspoken about the environmental dangers of methane emissions, and is a leader in the cause to repeal the Trump Administration’s relaxation of methane regulations – with plans to undo that policy change through the Congressional Review Act (CRA) in the weeks ahead.

“I’ve been an advocate of replacing oil and coal with natural gas, but it’s important to realize that unless we control the methane that’s released in the extraction of natural gas, its carbon benefit virtually disappears,” said Senator King. “So there’s a CRA that’s going to be on the floor in the next week or so on that subject and I think that it’s a case where it’s low hanging fruit: it’s cost effective and the methane problem is one that can be dealt with. But, if we don’t deal with it, it virtually eliminates the environmental benefits of natural gas.”

Senator King’s upcoming CRA maneuver with Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Edward Markey (D-MA) is a result of the Trump administration rolling back methane emissions regulations created during the Obama administration.  When the former President announced the decision last August, the move prompted Senator King to respond “I can’t think of a worse policy decision for the American environment and the global climate risk.” Senator King also pushed for a comprehensive review of methane leaks from oil and gas developments and the related impact on energy prices, the environment, and public health.


Additionally, Senator King discussed the importance of strengthening American energy innovation and expanding global collaboration efforts – as many clean energy challenges and environmental threats do not stay in the confines of one country.

“We’ve been talking a lot about protecting American innovation and taking advantage of market opportunities, but many of these challenges that we have, battery storage, the new generation of nuclear electric generation (CCUS), doing something about plastics in the ocean, these are global problems,” said Senator King to Paul Dabbar, Chairman and CEO, Bohr Quantum Technologies Corp. “How about a global or more international focused joint ventures, if you will, at least with our allies, so that we’re not all chasing the same subject in a less efficient way? For example, I was talking with some legislators in Japan last week, and they were very interested in some joint research projects on energy.”

Mr. Dabbar responded positively to Senator King’s proposal, stating that he had reached out to the Japanese and the Canadians in the past and is interested in working on projects that highlight the different nations’ strengths. 


In addition to Mr. Dabbar, today’s hearing featured testimony from Dr. Thomas Mason, Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory; Sarah Ladislaw, Managing Director of U.S. Program, RMI; and Dr. Lara Pierpoint, Director of Climate, Actuate.

A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions wherever they can be found, Senator King is a founding member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, and a lead sponsor on a range of bills that encourage energy efficiency and research on clean energy technologies, such as the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act which aims to incentivize the recycling of rechargeable and electrochemical batteries needed to meet the United States’ growing clean energy needs and decrease dependence on critical mineral imports, and the Joint Long-Term Storage Act, which seeks to speed up deployment of long-duration energy storage technologies through strategic collaboration between federal agencies.

Senator King is a cosponsor of the Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2019 which would put the U.S. on a trajectory to decarbonize the power sector by 2050, and the Clean Economy Act which would address the need for bold climate action and at the same time boosts American competitiveness, promotes healthier communities and fosters a growing economy that works for everyone. He focused the December 2019 edition of Inside Maine on the impact of climate change in Maine, as well as emerging bipartisan solutions to address this global existential crisis.

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