July 15, 2021

Whitehouse Applauds Inclusion of Methane Price and Polluter Import Fee in Infrastructure Budget Framework

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today applauded the new climate measures included in the infrastructure budget framework agreed to by members of the Committee yesterday evening. Both a price on methane emissions and a border adjustment fee were accounted for in the $3.5 trillion plan.

“For far too long, the fossil fuel industry has been given a free pass to cheat and damage the planet by releasing huge amounts of methane, a super potent greenhouse gas,” said Whitehouse. “Ending unchecked methane pollution is one of the most effective immediate steps we can take to keep global temperature increases from spiraling upward. The modeling shows that a fair methane price along the lines of what I’ve proposed would dramatically reduce these dangerous emissions. I’m not aware of any pro-methane leakage advocates, so I’m hopeful that’s where we can land at the conclusion of this reconciliation process.”

Whitehouse, along with Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), earlier this year introduced the Methane Emissions Reduction Act. The legislation would assess a fee on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities beginning in 2023.

Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release and is responsible for about 25 percent of global warming. The oil and gas industry accounts for at least a third of man-made methane emissions. Recent research suggests that methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations are 60 percent higher than previously estimated.

Whitehouse also applauded the inclusion of a polluter import fee in the budget framework. A polluter import fee would make domestic manufacturers that are less carbon intensive than many of their foreign counterparts more competitive in the global marketplace. The Save Our Future Act, which Whitehouse, Schatz, and six of their colleagues introduced last month included a border adjustment mechanism.

“A polluter import fee will help American companies compete globally and will send a strong international message as we make progress toward urgent climate goals,” added Whitehouse. “At the end of the day, the bill we develop must pass a simple test: will the investments and policies in it put us on a safe pathway to avoid catastrophic warming of above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This initial agreement is a big and necessary first step toward leading our planet to safety.”

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