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Congress Acts To Reinstate Methane Rules Loosened By Trump

WASHINGTON (CBS13/AP) - Congressional Democrats have approved a measure reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling, a rare effort by Democrats to use the legislative branch to overturn a regulatory rollback under President Donald Trump.

The House gave final legislative approval Friday to a resolution that would undo a Trump-era rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targeting methane emissions from oil and gas drilling. The resolution was approved, 229-191, and now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.

Action on methane was one of just three Trump-era rules targeted by the Democratic-controlled Congress under the review law, a sharp contrast to 14 Obama-era rules repealed by Republicans in Trump's first year.

Another producer of methane in the U.S. is agriculture.

"In the U.S. in general, about 10% of methane emissions is from agriculture and about 4% is from livestock," said Prof. Ermias Kebreab, associate dean for Global Engagement, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

An unusual snack for cows is packing an unexpected and powerful punch to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

New research shows livestock lunching on seaweed can dramatically lower the harmful levels of methane released by cows.

"It's like a sprinkling of cilantro," said Joan Sawen, CEO of Blue Ocean Barns. "It's just almost like a spice or an additive."

That "spice" is Asparagopsis taxiformis – a red seaweed found in tropical waters. Researchers at UC Davis have been using it to solve a nagging problem.

Chemical reactions in their stomachs force cows to pass the problematic gas. But a new study by UC Davis shows adding just one-to-two ounces of seaweed to their feed over five months, can rein in a huge source of that planet-warming pollution.

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