EPA to remove regulations on methane, a potent greenhouse gas

By | August 29, 2019

The New York Times reports:

The Trump administration laid out on Thursday a far-reaching plan to cut back on the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency, in its proposed rule, aims to eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. It will also reopen the question of whether the E.P.A. even has the legal authority to regulate methane as a pollutant.

The rollback is particularly notable because major energy companies have, in fact, spoken out against it — joining the ranks of automakers, electric utilities and other industrial giants that have opposed other administration initiatives to dismantle climate-change and environmental rules. Several of the world’s largest auto companies are pushing back against President Trump’s plans to let vehicles pollute more, saying those rollbacks stand to split the United States auto market in two, while utilities have opposed the relaxation of restrictions on toxic mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants.

The weakening of the methane standard is the latest in a historic march of environmental-policy rollbacks by the Trump administration designed to loosen regulations on industry.

Mr. Trump has sought to open millions of acres of public land and water to drilling, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and has lifted an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mining leases on public land. This month, the Interior Department completed a plan to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Later this year the E.P.A. plans to roll back clean-water regulations affecting streams and wetlands. [Continue reading…]

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