EPA May Slash Obama-Era Methane Restrictions: Report

The Environmental Protection Agency will soon propose plans to make it much easier for oil and gas companies to release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, according to a report Monday in The New York Times.

The newspaper, citing agency documents that have not yet been made public, said the EPA will propose loosening an Obama-era rule that mandates energy companies frequently inspect their oil and gas wells for methane leaks. The Interior Department is also expected to release its own proposal to remove bans on the “flaring” of methane at drilling rigs, the Times notes.

The moves are the latest efforts this year to undo much of former President Barack Obama’s work to address man-made climate change, spurred by the release of greenhouse gas emissions. While methane makes up only about 10 percent of those emissions, the gas is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Current rules mandate energy companies inspect their drilling operations as often as every six months, and those found to be leaking methane must be repaired within 30 days. The proposed plan would allow well owners to space out inspections to just once per year, or even once every two years, and double the allotted time to fix leaks to 60 days.

Read the entire article at Huffingtonpost.com