A BP Florida operations manager looks over a methane gas well site east of Bayfield, Colorado, 26 August 2009. Photo: VOA News

3 July 2017 (VOA News) – A U.S. federal appeals court ruled Monday that Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt lacks the authority to suspend rules that oil and gas companies monitor and fix methane gas leaks.

Two of the three judges on the panel wrote that an order delaying such a rule is the same thing as revoking it.

Pruitt said in April he wanted to put its enforcement on hold for 90 days, later saying he wanted to extend it for two years.

He argued that oil and gas companies are already monitoring methane leaks and that the federal regulations would make some wells unprofitable.

Several environmental groups sued to stop Pruitt.

“This ruling … slams the brakes on the Trump administration's brazen efforts to put the interests of corporate polluters ahead of protecting the public and the environment,” National Resources Defense Council official David Doniger said. This was one of the groups that sued to stop the EPA.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency is studying the court decision and had no other comment.

Methane emanating from natural gas production is a major contributor to global warming.

This is the first court decision to go against Trump administration efforts to overturn or block rules and executive orders it believes are unfair to the fossil fuel industry. [more]

Appeals Court Rules Against EPA in Methane Gas Regulations



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