Senators pull Regan to and fro on climate rules

By Kevin Bogardus | 05/02/2024 06:42 AM EDT

Lawmakers urged EPA Administrator Michael Regan to take aggressive action on climate but also soften power plant rules.

Michael Regan.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan prepares to testify Wednesday before the Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. Francis Chung/POLITICO

A top Senate appropriator has called on EPA Administrator Michael Regan to ramp up monitoring of a potent greenhouse gas, calling his agency’s response so far “unacceptable.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees EPA, said at a Wednesday hearing that the agency has the potential to significantly reduce methane emissions from oil and gas wells. But despite being provided funding under President Joe Biden’s capstone climate law to track the pollutant, he said, EPA has done nothing.

“Not one bit of satellite data has been acquired by the EPA, and yet methane is a massive global warming gas,” Merkley said. “So this is unacceptable. When is the EPA going to start taking methane seriously and develop a real program with the funds we have already provided?”


Appearing before the subcommittee, Regan said the agency takes methane seriously. He noted EPA’s oil and gas rule set standards for the gas and it is developing a data system to collect information on methane’s “super emitters.”