(OMMON DREAMS) Jake Johnson, September 26, 2018 — Continuing its relentless “assault on clean air, public lands, our health, and our climate,” the Trump administration on Tuesday gutted a major Obama-era rule that required oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions and take certain measures to prevent leaks on public lands.
“By rolling back these rules, BLM is enabling fossil-fuel extractors to pollute with impunity instead of using proven, readily available technology to reduce waste.”
—Jeremy Martin, Union of Concerned Scientists
Unveiled by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Trump administration’s revised rule (pdf) dramatically rolls back restrictions on methane emissions, which are a major driver of the climate crisis.
“This is a short-sighted decision that betrays BLM’s responsibilities to taxpayers and will exacerbate climate change,” Jeremy Martin, senior scientist in the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement. “By rolling back these rules, BLM is enabling fossil-fuel extractors to pollute with impunity instead of using proven, readily available technology to reduce waste. What’s worse is that at a time when the dangers of climate change are becoming ever more clear, BLM is choosing to increase emissions of methane, a potent contributor to global warming.”
Robin Cooley, staff attorney at Earthjustice, added that the Trump administration’s methane rule rollback “is once again taking its marching orders from the oil and gas industry while ignoring taxpayers and people who are living every day with the devastating impacts of drilling in their backyards.”
“Repealing a common-sense rule that saves taxpayers money and protects our health from pollution is irrational,” Cooley added.