Trump Administration to Finalize Rollback of Protections Against Methane Pollution on Public Lands

WASHINGTON —The U.S. Bureau of Land Management today is expected to finalize its rollback of commonsense protections that stop the unnecessary leaking of climate-fueling and health-harming air pollution from oil and gas operations on America’s public lands. This would be the latest in a series of attempts by the oil and gas industry and the Trump administration to block the Waste Prevention Rule, which went into effect in January 2017. 

A statement follows from David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director of the Climate & Clean Energy Program:

“The Trump administration is relentless in its push to give the oil and gas industry multi-million-dollar handouts at the expense of Americans’ health and environment. This commonsense rule is needed to curb smog-forming, cancer-causing, and climate-warming air pollution leaking from oil and gas facilities across the country. We will continue to fight in court to ensure people and the planet come before powerful polluters.”


The Waste Prevention Rule requires oil and gas companies drilling on public and tribal lands nationwide to use common-sense, proven measures to reduce methane pollution that is leaked, vented or flared. 

Last week, the Trump administration also proposed rolling back EPA’s methane rules for oil and gas operations on private lands.

The oil and gas sector is the largest U.S. industrial emitter of methane, which is the second-biggest driver of climate change after carbon dioxide. Leaking oil and gas facilities also release smog-forming and cancer-causing chemicals that trigger asthma attacks and increase cancer risks for people living nearby.

Americans overwhelmingly support federal efforts to cut methane pollution, according to polling from the American Lung Association.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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