Court Says Trump Can’t Delay Methane Rule

Court Says Trump Can’t Delay Methane Rule

Monday's ruling means that oil and gas companies must comply with Clean Air Act standards issued last year to monitor their facilities for leaks of methane and other dangerous pollutants, and to fix the leaks found within 30 days.

The Sierra Club in New Mexico is cheering a federal appellate court ruling on Monday that said the Trump administration cannot delay implementation of the EPA’s so-called methane rule.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that the Obama-era rule that limits emissions from oil and gas wells must stand for now.

Camilla Feibelman, director of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter, said the ruling is a victory for children’s health and climate protection.

“This ruling means that hundreds of new wells in New Mexico will have to capture methane, a natural resource that belongs to all Americans. This is a gas that is being extracted from public lands and is simply wasted by private companies. Capturing methane will bring more royalties into the state and will protect kids from smog associated with this pollution,” Feibelman said.

The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that gas and oil wells in New Mexico emit about 1,100 tons of methane and other gases a year into the atmosphere.

Feibelman said that Monday’s ruling means that oil and gas companies must comply with Clean Air Act standards issued last year to monitor their facilities for leaks of methane and other dangerous pollutants, and to fix the leaks found within 30 days. The court rejected the Trump EPA’s attempt to suspend the June 2 compliance date. The oil and gas industry will now have to comply with the law.

The EPA had asked for a delay in the implementation date saying that oil and gas companies hadn’t had enough time to discuss the rule before it was enacted.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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