Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Extraordinarily Harmful' Trump Rule Would Gut Restrictions on Methane Emissions

Politics
'Extraordinarily Harmful' Trump Rule Would Gut Restrictions on Methane Emissions
Pump jacks and a gas flare are seen near Williston, North Dakota on Sept. 6, 2016. ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Amid dire scientific warnings that the international community must act immediately to slash greenhouse gas emissions, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly set to take another step in the opposite direction Thursday by unveiling a rule that would gut restrictions on the fossil fuel industry's methane pollution.


According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the proposed rule change Thursday, the EPA's plan would scrap regulations requiring the oil and gas industry to "install technologies that monitor and limit leaks from new wells, tanks and pipeline networks and to more frequently inspect for leaks."

"It would also forestall legal requirements that would have forced the EPA to set rules on emissions from thousands of pre-existing wells and industry sites," the Journal reported.

The Trump administration expects the rule, which must go through a 60-day public comment period, to take effect early next year. The rollback was immediately praised by the American Petroleum Institute, a major trade group representing the fossil fuel industry.

Because of methane's potency — some estimates suggest the greenhouse gas has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide — environmentalists and scientists have warned the Trump administration's efforts to gut methane regulations could have disastrous consequences.

"This is extraordinarily harmful," Rachel Kyte, United Nations special representative on sustainable energy, said of the Trump administration's proposed rule change. "Just at a time when the federal government's job should be to help localities and states move faster toward cleaner energy and a cleaner economy, just at that moment when speed and scale is what's at stake, the government is walking off the field."

Trump administration officials, and the president himself, have gleefully touted the White House's success in ramping up American production of methane-emitting natural gas, which Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg infamously described as "molecules of U.S. freedom."

During the G20 summit in Japan in June, Trump said he is "not willing" to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions because such a move would harm corporate profits.

A report published earlier this year by Oil Change International in collaboration with over a dozen other environmental groups warned that U.S. fossil fuel production has the potential to single-handedly imperil global efforts to combat the climate crisis.

"Right now, we're on a sinking boat, and instead of just scooping water out, we must take immediate action to patch the hole where it's gushing in," said Patrick McCully of the Rainforest Action Network. "This means we must put a full-stop to fossil fuel expansion, or we all sink into climate chaos."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.


piyaset / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In an alarming new study, scientists found that climate change is already harming children's diets.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Wildfires within the Arctic Circle in Alaska on June 4, 2020. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.

Read More Show Less

Trending

In December of 1924, the heads of all the major lightbulb manufacturers across the world met in Geneva to concoct a sinister plan. Their talks outlined limits on how long all of their lightbulbs would last. The idea is that if their bulbs failed quickly customers would have to buy more of their product. In this video, we're going to unpack this idea of purposefully creating inferior products to drive sales, a symptom of late-stage capitalism that has since been coined planned obsolescence. And as we'll see, this obsolescence can have drastic consequences on our wallets, waste streams, and even our climate.

Read More Show Less
Rescuers search for survivors at a collapsed building in Mamuju city on January 15, 2021, after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia's Sulawesi island. Firdaus / AFP / Getty Images

At least 42 people are confirmed dead and more than 600 injured after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi early Friday morning.

Read More Show Less
Environmental activist Winona LaDuke (C) and water protectors stand in front of the construction site for the Line 3 oil pipeline near Palisade, Minnesota, on Jan. 9, 2021. Kerem Yucel / AFP via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett



Water protectors were arrested Thursday after halting construction at a Minnesota worksite for Enbridge's Line 3 project by locking themselves together inside a pipe segment.

Read More Show Less