Trump administration wants to roll back methane regulations — but some oil companies would rather keep the rules

The Trump administration is proposing to revoke Obama-era regulations on climate-changing methane leaks from oil and gas facilities, The Associated Press reports. Environmental advocates oppose the proposal.

The proposed rule follows President Donald Trump’s directions to remove “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. He said emissions have fallen while gas production has increased. “Our regulations should not stifle this innovation and progress.”

Methane is the main component of natural gas, and produces much less carbon dioxide than burning coal. But it is a potent greenhouse gas — much better at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2.

The oil and gas industry is the top source of methane emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. The AP reported that some oil gas corporations “are urging the Trump administration to drop the rollback on methane controls” because they’re worried about public concern over global warming. NPR’s Jeff Brady had this report:

Here’s a sample of other reaction to Thursday’s announcement by the administration:

David Masur, PennEnvironment

“Simply put, this rollback would place the commonwealth’s present and future at risk. This move to loosen regulations on methane, a potent greenhouse gas, flies in the face of science and the growing call from Pennsylvania’s citizens and businesses to urgently tackle the climate crisis. Instead of giving a green light to the fossil fuel industry to pollute even more, we need to cut pollution faster.”

Erik Milito, American Petroleum Institute

“Under this proposal, the oil and natural gas sector will continue to be effectively regulated. The regulation of volatile organic compounds drives down methane emissions and allows for innovation and technological advancements that help environmental performance and strengthen industry’s actions to reduce emissions.”

Andrew Williams, Environmental Defense Fund

“Today’s proposal by the federal EPA to roll back critical methane protections is one of the most blatant examples of just how out of touch Washington officials are with the majority of Pennsylvanians who support strong protections against the impacts of oil and gas development and climate change. It makes quick action to finalize Governor Wolf’s existing source methane rule critical to protecting our children and future generations.”


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