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rule until 2019 to “avoid imposing temporary or permanent compliance costs on operators for requirements that may be rescinded or significantly revised in the near future,” reads the department’s filing.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