Issue Date: August 7, 2017
EPA ordered to implement methane restrictions
A federal court has again directed EPA to implement Obama Administration regulations limiting methane emissions from new oil and natural gas drilling and production operations. The court’s July 31 order reaffirms one it issued in early July. However, the court signaled it would consider new petitions from states, the oil and gas industry, environmental activists, and EPA seeking to support or challenge the earlier order. The controversial regulations curb emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from new or modified oil and gas operations. It does not affect the hundreds of thousands of currently operating oil and gas drilling and production operations. In June, at industry’s urging, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the rules would be put on hold for two years while EPA developed a new regulatory approach. Several environmental groups and states challenged that decision and appeared to win after the court ordered EPA to forge ahead with the Obama regulations while it begins to develop new ones. EPA has been quiet about the matter, saying that it does not comment on pending litigation.
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