Trump’s EPA Proposes Rollback of Methane Protections—Again

WASHINGTON — For the second time since President Trump took office, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed rolling back commonsense protections that stop the unnecessary leaking of climate-fueling and health-harming air pollution from new oil and gas operations nationwide. The move comes while local, state and world leaders are gathering at the Global Climate Action Summit this week, and many are making commitments to combat their contribution to climate change.

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

“The Trump administration is at it again—giving multi-million-dollar handouts to deep-pocketed polluters at the expense of the American people. EPA is proposing to weaken commonsense rules that stop the industry from unnecessarily leaking massive amounts of climate-warming, cancer-causing and smog-forming air pollution around the country. It’s a startling contrast to the leaders from across the country and around the world who are coming together at the Global Climate Action Summit this week in a united effort to combat climate change. We will not stop fighting this administration’s brazen efforts to put people’s health, and our children’s future, at risk.”


EPA’s New Source Performance Standards were in place for nearly a year when the Trump administration first proposed rolling back methane standards for new oil and gas operations in March 2017—just two months after President took office. NRDC and partner groups sued, arguing it was a violation of the Clean Air Act, and won in July 2017. 

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.

NRDC and others released a report in 2014 that shows EPA can cut methane pollution in half, while dramatically reducing other harmful air pollution at the same time, by issuing federal standards for new and existing infrastructure nationwide.

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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