A group of Democratic senators are calling on the Biden administration to go further to address methane emissions from oil and gas production, saying the current proposed rule is “insufficient.”

In particular, lawmakers say it fails to adequately address flaring, a process by which excess gas is burned, releasing planet-warming methane into the atmosphere.

“Regarding flaring … we believe the approach proposed in the supplemental notice is insufficient to meet the requirements of section 111,” the senators wrote in a letter Thursday, referring to a section of the Clean Air Act.

“It would also allow for continued production of massive volumes of methane and carbon dioxide emissions resulting from wasted salable gas resources,” they added.

Methane is a planet-warming gas that is more than 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It can come from a variety of sources, including oil and gas production, agriculture and landfills, and is responsible for approximately 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter was addressed to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan. It was signed by 14 Democrats and an independent senator who argued with them.

The EPA says its proposed regulation would address 87 percent of the industry’s methane emissions, but senators have nonetheless expressed concern about its effectiveness.

In particular, they expressed concern about the language of the proposal that allows gas flaring when it is not feasible to use it as a fuel, saying this effectively places companies in charge of self-regulating.

“State oil and gas regulations generally already prohibit ‘wasting’ gas for no reason, but, in most states, have flagrantly failed to prevent widespread routine flaring,” they said in the letter. “Therefore, the EPA proposal would simply establish the status quo in federal regulation, allowing massive greenhouse gas emissions from flaring to continue unabated.”

The group called on the EPA to instead ban flaring with some limited exemptions. Lawmakers also asked the agency to propose new regulations “as soon as possible” addressing an inflation-reducing program that provides companies with financial assistance to reduce their methane emissions and also fines those who emit large quantities of methane. gas.

Reached for comment, an agency spokesperson provided The Hill with an emailed statement that pertained only to the timeline for regulations related to the program, known as the Methane Emissions Reduction Program.

“EPA appreciates the need for timely implementation of the methane emission reduction program, which incentivizes early adoption of innovative technologies and best practices, enabling the United States to achieve rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy savings a spokeswoman Shayla Powell said.

“EPA is working rapidly to implement this important Inflation Reduction Act program and looks forward to our continued cooperation with Congress,” Powell added.

The lawmakers who signed Thursday’s letter are Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), Alex Padilla (D -Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D- Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (DN.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Ray Luján (DN.M.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Cory Booker (DN.J.).

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