Success: Communities Protected From Methane Pollution

Target: Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader

Goal: Welcome victory for the environment and human health in oil country.

Environmentalists haven’t had much to celebrate recently, with the Trump administration seemingly declaring an all out war on the planet. However, Trump and his big oil allies just suffered a setback, with the Senate voting to uphold a regulation that limits the release of methane from oil and gas wells located on public land. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and scientists argue it’s one of the largest contributors to global warming. In fact, methane is believed to be as much as 25 times more powerful in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

In a surprise victory, the Senate voted 51 to 49 to block the repeal of this Obama-era regulation, which ordered the Interior Department to ensure wells on public land adhere to methane limits.

The vote was mostly on party lines, with Republicans largely supporting the repeal, and Democrats opposed. However, in a surprise twist, a number of Republican senators dissented from the party line, and joined Democrats in voting down the repeal. These Republican dissidents include John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins. While the support of these senators is refreshing, there’s more to the story than this. This surprise win wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of environmental campaigners across the country and the world. This isn’t just a victory for the politicians, but for everyone who has taken the courage to speak out for action on climate change. This includes everyone who signed this ForceChange petition aimed at protecting our precious public lands from miners. So let’s take a moment to welcome this victory, before we continue our fight to save the planet.


Dear Chuck Schumer,

We would like to welcome and praise Senate Democrats’ recent victory in protecting a 2016 Interior Department rule limiting emissions of methane on public lands by oil and gas wells. In the grand scheme of things, this unexpected win might not seem like much; but in the age of Trump, we’ll take what we can get. After all, this victory will no doubt make it harder for big oil and gas to use our public lands to pollute the planet. Methane is known to be among the most potent greenhouse gasses, and is 25 times more powerful in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

As Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of the League of Conservation Voters, told the Washington Post, “This is clearly a huge win for our health and our climate.”

Defending the climate in the age of Trump is no easy task. No doubt, we all have a tough fight ahead of us, as the Trump administration continues to attack environmental protections. We urge you and all senators to continue to fight on the side of the environment, and do everything possible to slow the onslaught of attacks on the planet. We’ve just won a small battle, but we still need to win the war.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Emilian Robert Vicol

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