Trump administration takes one more step against federal efforts to fight climate change. Soon rules will be made easier for energy companies to release methane gas into the air.
It is learned the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) will be coming up with a public proposal not requiring the energy companies to test for emissions of one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, which is leaked from oil and gas wells.
The Interior Department too may release the final version of draft rule which was proposed earlier this year about restrictions on burning of methane gas from drilling operations.
These will weaken the Obama-era requirement to rein global warming. E.P.A. proposed in July a weakening rule on emission of carbon dioxide from vehicle tailpipes. Similarly, another proposal was issued last month to replace earlier rule on pollution from coal-fired power plants.
E.P.A.’s top climate and clean-air regulator in the Obama administration, Janet McCabe, said the present government is taking down the earlier pollution rules one by one.
However, industry groups have praised the new move of Trump administration towards expected changes on methane as the rule in the Obama-era was a record-keeping nightmare and almost impossible to execute.
President of the Western Energy Alliance, Kathleen Sgamma, said the previous government trusted environmentalists while the Trump administration is trusting industry.
Data reveals methane emission makes about nine percent of greenhouse gases and is more effective than carbon dioxide, around 25 times, in global warming. One-third of it comes from oil and gas operations.
Environmentalists say, “These leaks can pop up anytime, anywhere, up and down the oil and gas supply chain… The longer you go in between inspections, the longer leaks will go undetected and unrepaired.”
Meanwhile, it is important to know the energy companies would follow their own state-level methane standards with the proposal of E.P.A. If this is so, the pollution standards in Texas is more than that of federal ones.
E.P.A. estimates energy companies would save $484 million by 2025. If the proposal would not have been issued, the Obama-era rule would cost the oil and gas industry about $530 million by 2025.