The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must enforce a rule regulating methane emissions the Trump administration repealed earlier this year, a federal court ruled Monday night.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia made the ruling after the court decided in July that the EPA unlawfully delayed acting on former President Barack Obama’s methane rule, which sets greenhouse gas emission levels and requires the energy industry to fix leaks.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought a two-year pause on the rule so the agency could “look broadly” at a host of Obama-era rules. The oil and gas industry opposes the regulation, arguing it’s unnecessary and duplicative of already existing rules. The industry also self-regulates methane leaks.
Activists cheered the court’s decision.
“Today’s issuance of the mandate by the full D.C. Circuit protects families and communities across America under clean air safeguards that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to unlawfully tear down,” Peter Zalzal, attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, told reporters Monday night after the court issued the ruling.
The Bureau of Land Management-administered standards would govern how much natural gas companies can emit on federal land. They are expected to cost nearly $155 million in 2020, rising to $290 to $400 million by 2025, which is two times more than EPA’s projected cost, according to a study by National Economic Research.
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