President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a bill repealing a Trump-era rule that rolled back regulations on methane emissions – a particularly potent greenhouse gas believed to contribute significantly to the climate crisis – from the oil and gas industries.
The President described the bill as an “important first step” to cut methane pollution and said it “reflects a return to common sense and commitment to the common good.”
“(President Barack Obama) in 2016 and I put in place a rule that required that companies capture methane leaks from the wells they were digging,” Biden said before signing the bill. “Well, guess what, they didn’t.”
The President continued: “And so since then we’ve learned that methane is even more dangerous to the climate than we knew back then in 2016, trapping much more heat – up to 80 times more heat, methane does – than carbon dioxide in its first 20 years in the atmosphere.”
The President said the infrastructure framework that he and a bipartisan group of senators had agreed to last week would do more to help address the climate crisis.
While president, Donald Trump rolled back regulations designed to limit global warming and repeatedly denied the scientific reality of the crisis and the threat it poses to the planet. Trump attempted to remove many of the guardrails installed by the Obama administration to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Biden is looking to sharply reverse course from the Trump administration, and since taking office has signed several executive actions to combat the climate crisis. He and other administration officials have emphasized that the White House is taking a “whole of government” approach to climate change.
The legislation Biden signed on Wednesday was passed by the House of Representatives last week after being passed by the Senate in April.
The vote was 229-191 in the House. All Democrats supported the resolution and 12 Republicans broke ranks to back it.
The Senate passed the resolution at the end of April under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to roll back regulations imposed by the executive branch. The act allows Congress to rescind within 60 legislative days a regulation put in place by an administration without having to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate that is necessary for most legislation. The vote was 52-42 in the Senate.
CNN’s Daniella Diaz, Kristin Wilson, Alex Rogers and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.