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Trump Administration Suspends Methane Gas Rules

  • VOA News

FILE - A BP Florida operations manager looks over a methane gas well site east of Bayfield, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2009.

The Trump administration is suspending regulations aimed at cutting dangerous methane gas emissions from oil and natural gas wells.

The Interior Department is indefinitely putting on hold methane trapping rules imposed on wells on federal lands.

The Senate rejected the suspension last month, prompting the department to act on its own.

An Interior official said the regulation is a "significant regulatory burden that encumbers American energy production, economic growth and job creation."

The Environmental Protection Agency wants a two-year delay on separate rules requiring oil and gas producers to monitor and capture methane gas leaks.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the federal regulations duplicate state regulations that he said can do a better job.

Methane gas traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.

Both sets of federal rules were implemented in the closing months of the Obama administration and were criticized by the oil and gas industry as burdensome job killers.

But Mark Brownstein of the Environmental Defense Fund said lifting the rules takes away what he said are protections that make natural gas a clean-burning fuel.

"Disregarding the will of the people, the interests of taxpayers and legal safeguards, all in the name of doing the bidding of the oil and gas industry, is shameful," Brownstein said.

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