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article imageWhite House moves to roll back methane restrictions

By Karen Graham     Sep 11, 2018 in Environment
Washington - The EPA thinks the previous administration went overboard on rules about greenhouse gases, and it's about to correct that. After earlier moves on carbon dioxide pollution from autos and coal plants, this time it's all about methane.
Methane is one of the world's most powerful greenhouse gasses - 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And one of the biggest sources of methane in the atmosphere is through Leaks and releases that occur throughout the natural gas supply chain.
The two biggest sources of methane are natural gas drilling and raising livestock. Studies have shown that methane emissions from U.S. onshore oil and gas operations are 60 percent higher than official government estimates suggest.
So with relevant government agencies knowing the facts - backed up by a number of studies - the Environmental Protection Agency, in its questionable wisdom, still is intent on rolling back President Barack Obama's emission standards, unveiling its plans to weaken the rules on how companies track and repair methane leaks, giving them more time to do both, reports the New York Times.
But, that is not all - The Interior Department is also expected to release its final version of a draft rule in a few days, proposed in February, that essentially repeals a restriction on the intentional venting and “flaring,” or burning, of methane from drilling operations.
The two moves, together, would mark the third major climate policy rollback this summer, following the administration's moves to reverse auto emissions standards and revamp the Clean Power Plan, notes EcoWatch.
Philadelphia Gas Works workers replace cast iron gas mains with stainless steel pipes to reduce meth...
Philadelphia Gas Works workers replace cast iron gas mains with stainless steel pipes to reduce methane leaks in north Philadelphia
Ivan Couronne, AFP
Our country's climate policy is trashed
With the two, new proposed rules and the two regulatory rollbacks already in effect, President Donald Trump and his administration have effectively destroyed the foundation of the United States’ effort to rein in global warming.
The energy industry, automakers, and coal companies have complained that the regulations imposed by the Obama administration were nothing more than "a lot of red tape." But the end result will be that more heat-trapping methane will be released into the atmosphere
"It all depends on who you trust," Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, tells the New York Times. "The Obama administration trusted environmentalists. This one trusts industry." But a former member of the Obama administration has a different view. "They’re taking them down, one by one,” says former EPA official Janet McCabe, referring to the Obama-era rules on climate change.
Oh, and by the way, earlier this year, the EPA exempted farmers from the rule requiring that they report methane emissions from cattle. It is looking more and more like the EPA won't have any regulations to enforce, and it leaves a question everyone should be asking - Why do we even have an agency to protect our environment and health? The one we have sure isn't doing anything to protect the American people.
More about Methane, Epa, Obamaera rules, Greenhouse gasses, Monitoring
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