The Trump administration is proposing to roll back another Obama-era energy regulation, this time one that aimed to curb methane leaks from oil and gas operations on tribal and public lands.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, even more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term, that contributes to climate change. The Obama administration said that large amounts of methane are lost into the atmosphere through through leaks, as well as intentional venting and flaring at energy production sites. It moved to limit that by requiring oil and gas companies to capture leaking and vented methane at existing sites, to gradually update their technology and to make plans for monitoring escaping gas.
The Government Accountability Office says as much as $23 million of potential royalty revenue from those gases is lost annually.
But in a statement, the Department of the Interior said that rule was "unnecessarily burdensome on the private sector."
"The flawed 2016 rule was a radical assertion of legal authority that stood in stark contrast to the longstanding understanding of Interior's own lawyers," said Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.