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article imageEPA efforts to rollback methane regulations facing opposition

By Karen Graham     Aug 29, 2019 in Environment
Washington - The Trump administration on Thursday proposed rolling back Obama-era limits on emissions of methane at oil and gas operations.
For the Trump administration, this is just another attempt to do away with Obama-era emission regulations on major oil and gas industries, which are the main source of methane emissions in the U.S.
President Donald Trump insists he is an environmentalist, even though he thinks the climate crisis is a hoax. He has already relaxed rules on carbon emissions from vehicles and intends to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.
The Trump administration insists the rollback is in line with its anti-regulatory philosophy, with the EPA maintaining the regulation is unnecessary because companies have an incentive to trap methane voluntarily—so they can sell it, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Methane -- a greenhouse gas more potent but more short-lived than CO2 -- is also on the rise  driven...
Methane -- a greenhouse gas more potent but more short-lived than CO2 -- is also on the rise, driven by gas industry leaks, flatulence from livestock and rice paddies
Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas
Carbon dioxide is the most widely distributed greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere, with methane being the second. However, methane has 80 times the heating-trapping capability of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years in the atmosphere, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the country's GHG emissions.
Methane is the main component of natural gas and this would mean it would only be indirectly regulated under the proposal. The EPA wants to eliminate federal requirements for technology to monitor and repair methane leaks at wells, pipelines and storage facilities reports The Hill.
“This is extraordinarily harmful,” Rachel Kyte, the United Nations special representative on sustainable energy, told the Times of the methane rule and other Trump administration efforts to undo climate regulations.
Methane monitoring pilot at Shell Canada s shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta  Can...
Methane monitoring pilot at Shell Canada's shale gas sites near Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, Canada.
Shell Canada
Opposition to rollbacks growing
Many major oil, gas, and auto companies have actually opposed the Trump administration’s rollback proposals. Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell oppose the plan because they think it could hurt the reputation of natural gas as being a cleaner fuel. However, the American Petroleum Institute (API), a major player in the industry, backs the proposal.
Four of the country's major automakers are against the Trump administration's rollback of vehicle emissions and have joined with California to maintain stricter pollution standards. Additionally, many electric utility companies have opposed the EPA’s weakened regulations on toxic mercury emissions by coal-burning power plants.
Environmentalists plan to sue the Trump administration over the rollbacks. “We simply cannot protect our children and grandchildren from climate catastrophe if EPA lets this industry off scot-free,” said David Doniger, a climate and clean energy specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, reports Reuters. “If EPA moves forward with this reckless and sinister proposal, we will see them in court.”
More about methane rollbacks, Epa, Greenhouse Gas, Opposition, combating climate crisis
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