Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trump regulators trigger pollution fight

The fight over former President Barack Obama’s methane agenda has moved to the courts. The Trump administration last week took two major steps toward wiping a pair of Obama-era methane pollution rules off the books. Environmental groups have sued to stop President Trump from nixing the rules, though the oil and gas industry has stepped up to defend the administration’s actions. Taken together, observers expect a raucous, lengthy legal fight over the standards, which were a key part of Obama’s climate change agenda. “I expect at every step, we’ll be sued by the environmental groups,” said Kathleen Sgamma, the president of the industry-funded Western Energy Alliance, which wants to end the methane regulations. Two agencies with jurisdiction over methane pollution said this week that they would delay the standards established by the Obama administration while they move to reconsider — and likely rewrite or repeal — the rules. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed delaying several aspects of its methane emissions rule for two years while reconsidering the measure, which sets emissions standards at drilling sites. The next day, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it would propose delaying compliance dates for its methane rule, which is due to impact drillers operating on federal lands by next January...more

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