Trump administration ordered to enforce methane restrictions launched under Obama

The Trump administration is not giving up on its effort to block Obama-era restrictions on the release of potent methane emissions at oil and gas drilling operations on public land, even after a federal judge ruled its suspension of the restrictions was illegal.

The court ruling came Wednesday at the behest of California and other states, which charged the administration is required by law to enforce the new rules intended to cut the release of 175,000 tons of the potent greenhouse gas annually, as well as reduce the emission of associated toxic pollutants. The rules took effect Jan. 17, just three days before President Trump’s inauguration. Companies have until the end of the year to comply.

The Interior Department had been delaying enforcement as it mapped out a strategy to rescind the new rules, which industry has complained are onerous. An earlier push by opponents of new methane restrictions to kill them in Congress fell short of the needed votes amid a backlash from environmentalists and landowners adversely affected by pollution from drilling.

The ruling was the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the Trump administration, as the courts find flaws in its plans for dismantling executive branch actions taken under President Obama to confront climate change.

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