Just days into his new job, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt yanked an Obama-era administration directive requiring oil and gas companies to report a broad range of information about their methane emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with more than 80 times the climate-warming punch of carbon dioxide. In fact, methane from the oil and gas sector is the second-largest industrial contributor to climate pollution in the United States. Methane waste alone (due to leaks across the supply chain as well as “flaring” and “venting” of the gas by producers) costs the country about $2 billion worth of fuel every year—enough gas to heat more than seven million American homes. The Obama administration set methane standards for new sources and equipment, and directed the EPA to do the same for existing sources. The first step was to request detailed information on emissions and control measures, which the agency did last fall. Pruitt himself sued to block the EPA’s methane standards for new sources while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, and now the agency, under his watch, has rescinded the new methane policy.
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Expert BlogMeleah Geertsma
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took a historic first step in combating the second-largest industrial contributor to climate change in the United States.
ExplainerPuerto Rico, New York City, United States, ClevelandBrian Palmer
Let’s not forget what America looked like before we had the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our rivers caught on fire, our air was full of smog, and it stank (literally).
ExplainerUnited StatesBrian Palmer
The incoming head of the EPA believes states should be in charge of their own environmental regulations. Been there, done that, got the oil-soaked T-shirt.