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Trump administration wants to make it easier to release methane into air

The new rules follow two regulatory rollbacks this year that, taken together, represent the foundation of the United States' effort to rein in global warming

Coral Davenport | NYT  |  Washington 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington
File photo of US President Donald Trump

The Trump administration, taking its third major step this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change, is preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release into the atmosphere.

Methane, which is among the most powerful greenhouse gases, routinely leaks from oil and gas wells, and energy companies have long said that the rules requiring them to test for emissions were costly and burdensome.

The Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps as soon as this week, plans to make public a proposal to weaken an Obama-era requirement that companies monitor and repair leaks, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. In a related move, the is also expected in coming days to release its final version of a draft rule, proposed in February, that essentially repeals a restriction on the intentional venting and “flaring,” or burning, of from drilling operations.

The new rules follow two regulatory rollbacks this year that, taken together, represent the foundation of the United States’ effort to rein in In July, the proposed weakening a rule on carbon dioxide pollution from vehicle tailpipes. And in August, the agency proposed replacing the rule on carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants with a weaker one that would allow far more global-warming emissions to flow unchecked from the nation’s smokestacks.

“They’re taking them down, one by one,” said Janet McCabe, the ’s top climate and clean-air regulator in the Obama administration.

Officials from the , the and the White House did not respond to emails and telephone calls seeking comment.


©2018 The New York Times News

First Published: Tue, September 11 2018. 21:05 IST
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