Trump is about to repeal another Obama-era global warming policy

The Trump administration will issue a proposal to repeal a rule limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal lands.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will submit his plan to repeal the methane rule on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.

The Department of the Interior wants to delay the rule until 2019 to “avoid imposing temporary or permanent compliance costs on operators for requirements that may be rescinded or significantly revised in the near future,” reads the department’s filing.

Congress failed to pass legislation repealing the methane rule in May, but the Interior Department stayed the rule in June amid legal challenges from states and the oil and gas industry.

The Obama administration finalized the methane limits in 2016 to comply with the Paris agreement on climate change. The $1.8 billion methane rule was one of many “midnight” rules the Obama administration rushed to finish before leaving office.

Proponents say the rule is necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions and capture otherwise lost revenues for states and localities. The regulation required drillers to capture methane that’s otherwise vented or flared off into the atmosphere.

However, critics say the rule is outside the Interior Department’s legal authority and could force marginal natural gas and oil wells to shut off. That would cut into state and local revenues.

Critics also point to the fact methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling have been falling for years without any need for heavy-handed federal intervention.

A recent study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado-Boulder researchers found rising methane emissions are due to “agricultural and wetland emissions” from the tropics.

The House passed legislation to repeal the methane rule earlier this year, but the measure failed in the Senate after three Republicans — Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collin of Maine — voted against it.

Interior Department officials quickly promised to repeal the rule through the formal rule making process. Officials said the rule would be reviewed as part of President Donald Trump’s order to purge the books of the Obama administration’s “Climate Action Plan.”

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About the Author: Michael Bastasch

Michael Bastasch writes on energy, climate and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  • Bob Bryant

    This is another regulation to stop the burning of fossil fuels and thereby weaken America.. There is no harm in burning off excess methane.

    • MichaelR

      There is little harm burning off methane, that’s correct. It’s only got one carbon atom and 4 hydrogen so the CO2 output is relatively low vs burning oil or coal.
      But this rule is allowing companies to just vent methane direct into the atmosphere, rather than bothering to capture and store it or burn it. Methane is 23 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. That is why Obama was keen to regulate its emission by lazy, sloppy polluters. It’s not they can’t capture. It’s that it costs them a little more money to do things properly and they want that money all for themselves. These regulations don’t threaten jobs. They just hold companies accountable for their pollution. Now those companies just get to use your air as an open sewer for a dangerous gas.

  • Bob Bryant

    Once again the embittered unforgiving John McCain makes another vote against the best interests of Americans. Who funds this Rhino?

  • Barry O’brien

    Could McStain be a more vile maggot? I don’t think so. May he rot in hell.

  • MichaelR

    If you like CO2 you will love methane, 23 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas a desktop lab experiment can show you.
    Letting companies pollute more freely is generally considered a public bad. Why is this so welcome?