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Twenty Democratic attorneys general file motion in support of Biden methane rule

Twenty Democratic state attorneys general on Monday filed a motion in defense of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) oil and gas methane rule, following a lawsuit against the rule by Republican AGs.

Twenty-four GOP states, led by Oklahoma’s Gentner Drummond, sued over the rule last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a separate challenge March 8 in response to a request from the state Railroad Commission.

In the counter-motion, the 20 Democratic AGs, led by California’s Rob Bonta, expressed support for the final EPA rule, the first to regulate emissions from existing fossil fuel facilities in addition to new and modified facilities. Bonta was joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

“Once again, we are seeing baseless attacks on efforts to combat climate change and tackle methane emissions,” Bonta said in a statement. “For years, this super pollutant has been overlooked while the oil and gas industry carelessly – and at times, knowingly – allowed enormous quantities of greenhouse gas to leak into our environment. The Biden Administration’s rule is a critical step forward, and I, alongside attorneys general across this country, won’t stand idly by as necessary solutions to address the dire reality of the climate crisis fueled by methane emissions are being blatantly attacked.”

Methane persists in the atmosphere for less time than carbon dioxide, but is about 80 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Data released last week by the International Energy Agency indicated that the top methane-emitting countries produced about 120 million metric tons of methane emissions in 2023, a slight uptick from 2022. The U.S. led all other countries for methane emissions from oil and gas, while China led in emissions from coal.

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