Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Action On Methane CRA And Water Infrastructure This Week

April 26, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the floor regarding the Senate schedule for the week, focusing on working to continue to put in place President Biden’s team; the bipartisan water infrastructure bill; and fighting climate change by overturning the Trump Administration’s reversal of the Obama administration methane rule via a Congressional Review Act resolution.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

The Senate has a lot to accomplish by the end of this week. We’ll confirm several highly qualified nominees to the executive branch, starting today with the nominee for Deputy OMB Director, Jason Miller. Later this week, we’ll also confirm Janet McCabe for Deputy EPA Administrator, Colin Kahl for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Samantha Power for Administrator of USAID. Our Senate committees will continue holding hearings and markups on at least a dozen other nominees.

The Senate will also consider two important environmental infrastructure policies.

First, the Senate will take up the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. This legislation passed through the EPW Committee with unanimous support. In fact, this water infrastructure bill is a core component of the Republican infrastructure proposal released last week. It also addresses many of the recommendations put forward by the Problem Solvers caucus last Friday. And so I hope that this is a signal to the entire Senate that we should work together on infrastructure, where and when we can. Senators Carper, Duckworth and Cardin have been outstanding leaders on this issue and have made sure members from both sides of the aisle have had the opportunity to offer amendments, just as we did last week on the Anti-Asian Hate Crimes bill.

We are going to continue working with our colleagues, our Republican colleagues, on the timing for a vote on the Water Infrastructure bill. On a topic this straightforward and bipartisan, I hope that our Republican colleagues will cooperate so that we may finish the bill ASAP. We have a lot to do.
I would also like to thank Senator Capito the ranking member of the committee for working with Senators, Collin, Carper, and Duckworth so well.  

We will also vote on a measure this week to restore critical regulations on the release of methane into our atmosphere. In 2016, the Obama Administration instituted a rule that required energy companies to better monitor and reduce methane leaks. The rule not only drew cheers from the environmental community, it earned the support of industry as well.
Even though methane is far less talked about than carbon dioxide, it is far more potent. A tonne of methane warms the atmosphere 86 times more than a tonne of carbon dioxide. On the plus side, however, methane does not linger in our atmosphere as long as CO2 does, and emissions can be reduced rather cheaply. So when it comes to combatting climate change, tackling methane delivers a huge bang for your buck.

That’s just what the Senate intends to do this week by re-imposing commonsense rules to reduce methane emissions, hopefully on a bipartisan basis. We already have the support of at least one Republican Senator, and we welcome more.  The industry supported this, and again Donald Trump, with just a nastiness, said that’s it’s Obama’s rule so I ought to repeal it. And he did, which hurts us big time.

I want to be clear: the methane CRA is a big deal. This measure will help us address the climate crisis in a major way. It is nowhere close to everything we want or need, but it is very important. Last week, President Biden set an ambitious goal for the United States to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade. This week, the Senate will take the first of many important steps we need to take to achieve that ambitious goal.

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