The Trump administration is preparing to place a temporary halt on former President Barack Obama’s methane emissions rules.
The EPA will announce shortly a two-year delay on rules designed to regulate methane, a potent greenhouse gas that scientists argue contributes to global warming, according to an EPA official and public filings. Officials are using the delay to buy time for a plan replacing the rule.
Energy companies pushed for repeal while the EPA reconsidered whether to implement the stricter standard. The Bureau of Land Management entered a notice earlier this year to delay a separate rule finalized in November that would limit methane burned off from drilling operations on federal lands.
Obama issued the methane rule in 2016 before leaving office. It sets greenhouse gas emission levels and requires the energy industry to fix leaks. Trump placed the methane rule, among several others, 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 argues it’s unnecessary and duplicative of already existing rules.
Critics say that the methane rule was a regulation in search of a problem, pointing to research showing that methane emissions from oil and gas drilling have plummeted, despite a huge increase drilling operations.
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