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Court Blocks Scott Pruitt’s Attempt to Delay Key Safeguards Limiting Methane Pollution from the Oil and Gas Sector

Rule is a Critical Step Toward Protecting Communities and Addressing Climate Change

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted Sierra Club and its allies’ motion to vacate EPA’s stay of a rule that limits methane pollution from new oil and gas operations, in an attempt to delay its implementation. The Court agreed with our coalition, ruling that the agency did not have legal authority to issue such a stay.

A greenhouse gas, methane is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to disrupting our climate in the near term, poses a significant threat to public health, and fuels climate change.

The rule was issued by the Obama administration in 2016, and the first compliance date was set to June 3, 2017. In response to requests from the oil and gas industry to reconsider the rule, in April EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced it would stay certain core requirements under the rule by 90 days pending its reconsideration.  In response, Sierra Club and its allies filed the first lawsuit against Trump’s EPA for rolling back EPA’s climate standards.

Today’s order means that oil and gas companies are required to comply with these standards. In mid-June, EPA also proposed a separate two-year stay on the rule, and the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the importance of implementing the rule.

Sierra Club Chief Climate Counsel Joanne Spalding released the following statement in response:

“Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt’s attempt to delay the implementation of these crucial protections had no basis in law, and we are glad to see their effort to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry fail.These emission standards for new oil and gas sources are a critical step toward protecting communities from dangerous air pollution and addressing climate change.  

“Despite Trump and Pruitt’s best laid plans to do favors to corporate polluters, advocates for our public health, our climate, and our communities are fighting back -- and we are winning. The Sierra Club and millions of Americans across the country will not sit idly by as this administration seeks to put the interests of corporate polluters over our communities’ health and the safety of our climate.”


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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