Washington (AP) House Republicans on Wednesday approved a measure that would expand federal oversight of methane drilling and gas fireplace installations.
The measure, H.R. 2592, passed 219-193, with Democrats joining with all Democrats in voting against it.
It’s the first time in nearly three decades that Republicans have tried to pass legislation that would regulate methane gas, which has become a hot topic in the energy industry amid a rising global demand for fossil fuels.
“This is a historic moment in our country, as we move to protect our communities from the devastating effects of climate change,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said after the vote.
“This legislation will protect millions of Americans and our economy from the costly and dangerous methane emissions caused by the gas industry.”
The measure would make it a crime to burn or dump methane into the atmosphere without a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The bill also expands the scope of a $1 million fine for a first offense to $1.2 million for any subsequent offense.
A bill approved by the Senate in December would expand the definition of a methane leak to include any spill that causes the release of methane or other gases that pose a threat to human health or the environment.