The Trump administration will announce a two-year delay in the implementation of a 2016 Obama era rule aimed at curbing methane emissions from natural gas drilling on public lands.
The Senate controlled by the Republicans failed to revoke the rule in May, so the Bureau of Land Administration of the Department of the Interior is taking action, according to a statement in the Federal Register.
Industry and environmental groups reacted quickly to the delay of the Department of the Interior on Thursday.
"Once again, we see the Trump administration bidding for oil and gas companies instead of ensuring public health and the future of the planet," said Sarah Uhl, program director of the Clean Air Task Force. "We will do everything possible to ensure that the oil and gas industry takes all necessary measures to avoid waste and contamination of its operations on public lands."
The delay comes after energy companies and a major industrial group recently announced programs to voluntarily reduce methane emissions.
Methane, the main component in natural gas, is more powerful than carbon dioxide, although its emissions are relatively ephemeral.
The week, the American Petroleum Institute, the largest gas pressure group in Washington, announced a new program aimed at reducing methane emissions from oil and natural gas production. Participants include Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil.
Separately, Exxon, BP and Shell are among the eight oil companies that pledged last month to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production.
to make specific emission reduction targets, but promised "to continuously reduce methane emissions, advance good performance in gas value chains, improve the accuracy of methane emissions data, advocate for policies and regulations solid on methane emissions, and increase transparency. "
Energy companies' vote to" defend strong policies and regulations on methane "is especially noteworthy because the Trump administration is trying to repeal the methane regulations of the it was Obama, like the BLM rule.
API, in its program, however, did not advocate regulations, although the group says it would embrace "profitable" rules.
"While the authority of BLM in this area is limited, we are acting through innovation and technology advances in our operations to capture and successfully reduce emissions of methane, the main component of natural gas", said Erik Milito, director of API upstream and industry operations. "We welcome BLM's efforts to do this well and we encourage the agency to develop an achievable rule in the coming months that will serve to prevent waste and conserve resources while fostering the production of energy on federal lands."