Energy

EPA Official Says Court Ruling Doesn’t Prevent Trump From Eliminating Methane Reg

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A federal court ruling lifting a stay the Trump administration placed on an Obama-era methane regulation does not prevent President Donald Trump from repealing the rule, an EPA official told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.

The source argues Trump can still eliminate the methane regulation even after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Monday night the White House must lift the stay on the ruling.

“‘Resume enforcing’ is an imprecise and somewhat inaccurate way to describe the effect of issuing the mandate,” the official said about the court’s decision. “The mandate issuing lifts the stay, so the rule’s requirements are now in effect.”

But the enforcement discretion of the rule is still within the scope of the Trump administration, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the EPA does not comment on on-going litigation. The court lifted President Donald Trump’s stay on the Obama-era rule, but did not eliminate the White House’s ability to revoke the regulation.

Federal judges ruled July 3 that the “EPA’s decision to impose a stay, in other words, was ‘arbitrary, capricious,'” because “it was thus not ‘impracticable’ for industry groups to have raised such objections during the notice and comment period.” The court of appeals’ ruling on Monday affirmed the lower court’s decision.

Former President Barack Obama issued the methane rule in 2016 before being termed out of office. It sets greenhouse gas emission levels and requires the energy industry to fix leaks. Trump slowly began rolling back a whole host of his predecessor’s climate regulations, and the methane rule was one of the regulations on the chopping block.

Trump’s EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, sought a two-year pause earlier this year on the rule so the agency could determine the nature of Obama’s climate rules. The oil and gas industry opposes the regulation, arguing it’s unnecessary and duplicative of already existing rules.

EPA issued a 90-day stay in April on implementing the methane rule after oil industry groups argued that they didn’t have the chance to review all the new requirements for limiting emissions. Trump ordered the agency to review the methane rule in March as part of a larger mission against Obama’s climate agenda.

Environmentalists sued, arguing federal judges must overturn the EPA’s supposedly unlawful stay on the regulation. Judges on the D.C. Circuit Court sided with activist attorneys with the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club.

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