EPA admits scrapping regulations will put more methane into atmosphere

  • Trump aims to ditch Obama-era rules on climate change gas
  • Regulations concern natural gas leaks from oil and gas facilities
Natural gas (methane) is burned off near pumps in Watford City, North Dakota. The Trump administration is seeking to roll back regulations on methane leaks from oil and gas facilities.
Natural gas (methane) is burned off near pumps in Watford City, North Dakota. The Trump administration is seeking to roll back regulations on methane leaks from oil and gas facilities. Photograph: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

The Trump administration is moving to roll back Obama-era rules intended to reduce leaks of methane from oil and gas facilities.

Methane is one of the most potent agents of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed substitute rule on Tuesday, as part of an ongoing effort by the Trump administration to ease 2016 rules for finding and stopping methane leaks from oil and gas sites.

The EPA acknowledges the rollback would lead to more methane leaking into the atmosphere. The agency says relaxing oversight will save $75m in regulatory costs annually.

The rollback has been hung up in court challenges since the Trump administration announced its plans last year. Tuesday’s action opens a period for public comment, ahead of any final administration decision on the change.

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