The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era rules on methane emissions from oil and gas production, the New York Times reported Monday.
Documents reviewed by the Times show that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning as early as this week to significantly relax two-year-old regulations on how often drillers must monitor and repair methane leaks, and let producers in states with lax methane rules, like Texas, follow those standards instead of federal ones.
In a parallel move, the Interior Department is also expected to release a final rule that would reverse restrictions on refineries' ability to intentionally release excess methane into the atmosphere, a process known as "flaring." The move would mark the third major climate policy rollback this summer, following the administration's moves to reverse auto emissions standards and revamp the Clean Power Plan.
For a deeper dive:
The move comes after regional authorities declared a state of emergency over the weekend after sightings of more than 50 bears in the town of Belushya Guba since December.
This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.
"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.
By Shana Udvardy
After a dearth of action on climate change and a record year of extreme events in 2017, the inclusion of climate change policies within the annual legislation Congress considers to outline its defense spending priorities (the National Defense Authorization Act) for fiscal year 2018 was welcome progress. House and Senate leaders pushed to include language that mandated that the Department of Defense (DoD) incorporate climate change in their facility planning (see more on what this section of the bill does here and here) as well as issue a report on the impacts of climate change on military installations. Unfortunately, what DoD produced fell far short of what was mandated.
Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.
Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.