Trump admin plans to postpone methane controls from oil, gas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Interior Department will propose today delaying parts of an Obama-era rule to restrict methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands, a rule Congress promoted earlier in the year, a file showed on Wednesday.

Under the guideline, completed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) two months prior to previous president Barack Obama left workplace, oil and gas operators on public lands need to avoid the leaking, venting and flaring of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The administration of President Donald Trump has sought to do away with the rule, seeing it as excessive environmental policy. BLM has proposed postponing the guideline’s application until Jan. 17, 2019 as it examines Obama’s regulation, according to the file, arranged to be published on Thursday in the Federal Register. The file can be seen here:

Delays in the methane rule might benefit energy drillers on public lands as the Trump administration looks for to make the nation “energy dominant” by maximizing oil and gas output for domestic intake and for delivering energy products to allies.

Energy business have stated the guideline might cost them tens of thousands of dollars per well and impede production. The American Petroleum Institute has said the rule is unnecessary since energy producers have actually made strides in lowering emissions of methane, the main part of natural gas.

Drillers on federal lands produced 9 percent of the gas and 5 percent of the oil in the United States last .

In Might, the United States Senate turned down a resolution to withdraw the rule, as several of Trump’s fellow Republicans, consisting of Senator John McCain, voted against the measure.

Ecologists said the hold-up was a gift by the administration to the petroleum market.

Kate Kelly, public lands director at the liberal Center for American Progress, stated Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Trump administration “have to understand that they are not above the law and that it is American taxpayers, not the oil and gas industry, that pay their incomes.”

The Interior Department, which will take public comments on the proposed delay once it is released in the Federal Register, did not immediately respond to concerns about the file.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Modifying by David Gregorio

U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a conversation on energy with Energy Secretary Rick Perry (2nd-R), EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (R), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (L) and Vice President Mike Pence (2nd-L), at the Department of Energy in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria