The US administration has rolled back regulations aimed at reducing emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas (GHG) methane from oil and gas operations.
The latest move is part of President Trump’s plans to unwind environmental rules before November’s presidential election, Reuters reported.
Methane is the major component of natural gas. It is a more ‘potent’ GHG compared to carbon dioxide but does not remain in the atmosphere for long.
According to recent scientific reports, methane emissions play a major role in worsening climate change.
It is therefore important to reduce methane emissions, which could help to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
However, the new rules remove ‘methane control requirements’ for the processing of oil and natural gas. These rules also remove curbs on the emissions from transmission and storage.
The news agency quoted API regulatory affairs director Frank Macchiarola as stating: “We support this revision.
“But we understand that this rule has drawn diverse viewpoints across our industry.”
Environmental groups and some state attorneys have said that the rollbacks will be challenged in court.
EPA senior counsel and director Joe Goffman said: “The purpose of this rule is simply to strew baseless legal obstacles across that path, ensuring that after Trump and Wheeler are finally gone, their successors will have to struggle to achieve urgently needed methane reductions.”
In April this year, American multinational oil and gas firm ExxonMobil said it is field testing eight detection technologies to reduce methane gas emissions.
In February 2019, Dominion Energy committed to reducing methane emissions from its natural gas infrastructure by 50% by 2030.