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Court Orders EPA to Enforce Obama-Era Methane Pollution Rule

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered Scott Pruitt's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday to enforce safeguards limiting methane pollution from new oil and gas operations.


Pruitt had attempted to stay implementation of the rule for 90 days, regardless of the impact such a delay would have on public health and the climate. A 3-judge panel of the court earlier ruled that Pruitt did not have the legal authority to stay the rule. In a 9-2 vote, the full court ordered that the mandate be issued, lifting the EPA stay, while the court considers industry's petition for rehearing. Industry now will be required to comply with the safeguards immediately. In the meantime, EPA is taking another shot at relieving industry of its obligations by preparing to issue a separate two-year stay of the same rule.

"The court's order is a victory for our communities' health and the safety of our climate," Joanne Spalding, Sierra Club's chief climate counsel, said. "Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt's attempt to delay the implementation of these crucial protections had no basis in law, and we are glad to see their effort to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry fail once again.

"Trump and Pruitt have repeatedly overreached in their efforts to undermine environmental protections and prop up the oil and gas industry, and the Sierra Club will continue to fight to hold them accountable in court."

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