Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday fulfilled environmentalists’ fears with a gift to the oil and gas industry, in the form of canceling an Obama-era request for information regarding methane emissions from fossil fuel facilities.
“This is exactly the kind of climate recklessness we can expect more of from Trump’s EPA […] making it clear that oil and gas executives have this agency in the palms of their hands.”
Click Here: los jaguares argentina—May Boeve, 350.orgThe cancellation followed a letter (pdf) sent to Pruitt on Wednesday from 11 attorneys general of pro-oil states, who spoke solely to industry concerns when they demanded that the EPA administrator revoke the request they described as “burdensome” and “onerous.”
“We hope that the burdensome Obama climate rules never see the light of day, which is why we ask that this Information Collection Request be suspended and withdrawn,” the attorneys general of Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Arizona, Alabama, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Mississippi wrote.
Pruitt, who has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry and as Oklahoma attorney general sued the EPA no less than 14 times, swiftly acquiesced.
“This appalling decision shows how quickly Pruitt is turning the EPA into an oil industry vending machine,” Center for Biological Diversity attorney Vera Pardee said in a statement, according to Scientific American. “Just one day after oil-friendly state governments complain about efforts to collect methane pollution data, out pops this cancellation. […] The Trump administration doesn’t want this data because it doesn’t want to rein in oil companies’ massive emissions of this dangerous greenhouse gas.”
The November 2016 request for information was widely interpreted as the EPA’s first step toward regulating emissions of methane—which is “more than 85 times more powerful than CO2” as a greenhouse gas in the first twenty years after it is emitted—from existing oil and gas facilities, a crucial regulation that environmentalists have been seeking for years.
Indeed, the Obama administration’s request came six months after the announcement of EPA restrictions on methane emissions from new oil and gas facilities, which was decried as inadequate for its failure to regulate existing facilities. “This rule[…] does nothing to stop dangerous methane leaks from existing fracking wells,” said 350.org’s May Boeve at the time.
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