News Worms
News Worms

EPA withdraws Obama-era request for data on oil, natural gas

EPA withdraws Obama-era request for data on oil, natural gas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is backing away from requiring oil and gas companies to report methane emissions. "Today's action will reduce burdens on businesses while we take a closer look at the need for additional information from this industry".

The press release notes that the withdrawal came after the agency received a letter on Wednesday from nine state attorneys general and two governors of states with fossil fuel interests.

The letter asked the EPA chief to "suspend and withdraw" the reporting rule.

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It isn't clear whether the EPA plans to take any steps regarding the existing waiver.

The cuts to the EPA are just proposals by the President. Climate scientists are still working to understand how methane emissions fit into the overall climate change puzzle. This survey had been one of Obama's final environmental acts as president and was meant to inform future regulations limiting the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Pruitt has long put the interests of the oil and gas industry over the needs of the public, and as Oklahoma's attorney general, he even joined the unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn the EPA's Chesapeake Bay pollution goals.

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The 23-page 2018 budget proposal, which aims to slice the environmental regulator's overall budget by 25 percent to $6.1 billion and staffing by 20 percent to 12,400 as part of a broader effort to fund increased military spending, would cut deeply into programs like climate protection, environmental justice and enforcement. It was his first order since his ascent to office. With decreased funding, the agency is set to trim down the number of employees by a quarter. Is the money saved going toward cleaning up our environment?

The agency announced last May that it would strictly regulate the oil and gas industry's methane emissions, a process that would begin by requesting 15,000 industry owners and operators nationwide to provide information about their methane emissions and the technology they could use to control them.

The decision will hobble the EPA's ability to accurately calculate methane emissions in its annual tally of total USA greenhouse gas emissions, which is provided to the United Nations to track America's progress in addressing climate change, said Danny Cullenward, an energy economist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

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