Published on
by

Enabling Big Oil to 'Pollute With Impunity' on Public Lands, Trump Guts Methane Restrictions

The White House, say green groups, 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."

"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. (Photo: iStock)

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.

According to the New York Times, the oil and gas industry is set to profit massively from the Trump administration's far less restrictive methane rule.

"If implemented, the proposal would recoup nearly all the costs to the oil and gas industry that would have been imposed by the Obama-era regulation," the Times noted last week. "The EPA estimated that rule would have cost companies about $530 million by 2025. The EPA estimates that the proposed changes would save the oil and gas industry $484 million by the same year."

In a statement on Tuesday denouncing the White House's latest gift to the fossil fuel industry, Lena Moffitt—senior director of Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign—vowed to take the Trump administration to court.

"We've already successfully defended these protections in court and in Congress, and the fight won't stop here," Moffitt concluded.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Share This Article