This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
A federal court just dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to roll back environmental regulations. On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must enforce an Obama-era rule which sets pollution limits for the oil and gas industry and requires companies to identify and fix methane leaks.
Methane is an extremely potent gas that contributes to global warming. While the gas can come from natural sources, the oil and gas industry contribute the greatest amount of industrial emissions. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide for the first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. The Obama administration implemented the rule in 2016 and said it would slash methane emissions 40 to 45 percent by 2025.
In April, EPA head Scott Pruitt announced that the agency would “reconsider” the methane rule. In a letter to the oil and gas industry, Pruitt said that the “EPA is continuing to follow through with President Donald Trump’s energy independence executive order” and that “American businesses should have the opportunity to review new requirements, assess economic impacts and report back, before those new requirements are finalized.”
In June, Pruitt issued a notice that…
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