Trump’s Interior Department Likely to Delay Methane Leak Controls

rer032615j/BIZ/04.01.2015/ Roberto E. Rosales Pictured are the oil fields with pump jacks scattered throughout the area of Loco Hills, which is located between Artesia and Hobbs. Albuquerque New Mexico(Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The Interior Department will probably delay the controls it previously planned to impose on the oil and gas industry. These rules were intended to capture methane emissions released during oil and gas production, but will most likely be delayed for a year. The Department is also thinking about weakening regulations in these two industries.

The rule was finalized under President Barrack Obama and demands that leaks from oil and gas drilling operations on federal lands be minimized. According to the Interior Department, the Bureau of Land Management is trying “to avoid imposing temporary or permanent compliance costs on operators for requirements that may be rescinded or significantly revised in the near future.”

Other rules that may be delayed by the BLM until the beginning of 2019 are the requirements that plans for cutting waste are submitted by producers in the oil and gas industry and that gas reaching the surface during drilling is disposed of. The justification behind this decision is that a number of these rules result in considerable financial costs for oil and gas companies, reports CNBC.

This delay was publicly criticized by environmentalist groups, who point out the negative effects of methane leaks, which are far greater than those of CO2. They claim that delaying the rule only demonstrates that the president’s administration is allowing air pollution in favor of protecting the interests of their “billionaire cronies.”

Earlier this year, Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins voted against the rule being revoked, which Trump believed would help increase the production of fossil fuels for domestic consumption. It is also expected the Environmental Protection Agency will try to have Clean Power Plan repealed, another regulation which attempts to reduce greenhouse gasses.

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