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A gas flare is seen at an oil well site on July 26, 2013 outside Williston, North Dakota. (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

'Resounding' Win for Public Health and Climate as Judge Blocks Trump Attempt to Gut Methane Restrictions

"The judge basically rejected every attempt by the Trump administration to gut these common-sense waste prevention measures on behalf of their oil and gas industry cronies."

Jake Johnson

Green groups celebrated a "resounding victory for taxpayers, public health, and the environment" late Wednesday after a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from rolling back an Obama-era rule designed to limit planet-warming methane emissions.

"The Trump administration has abused every opportunity—legal or otherwise—to maximize the oil and gas industry's profits at the expense of taxpayers, public health, and the climate."
—Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Western Environmental Law Center

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Rogers of the Northern District of California said the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) 2018 rescission of the Waste Prevention Rule without "thoroughly and thoughtfully" considering potential environmental impacts was unlawful.

"Instead, in its zeal, BLM simply engineered a process to ensure a preordained conclusion," Rogers wrote in her 57-page decision (pdf). "Where a court has found such widespread violations, the court must fulfill its duties in striking the defectively promulgated rule."

Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center, applauded the "forceful repudiation" of BLM's rollback.

"The Trump administration has abused every opportunity—legal or otherwise—to maximize the oil and gas industry's profits at the expense of taxpayers, public health, and the climate," Schlenker-Goodrich said in a statement.

Rogers' decision means the rule requiring oil and gas companies to prevent wasteful venting and leaking of methane on public lands will go back into effect in 90 days. Given that methane can cause over 80 times more warming than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, environmentalists celebrated the ruling as a significant victory for the climate.

"The judge basically rejected every attempt by the Trump administration to gut these common-sense waste prevention measures on behalf of their oil and gas industry cronies," Earthjustice attorney Robin Cooley said in a statement. "Most importantly, the judge said the administration cannot ignore the impacts on health and well-being of the people who live near oil and gas facilities."


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Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

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