EPA admits scrapping regulations will put more methane into atmosphere

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally released its proposed substitute for a 2016 Obama administration rule that aimed to step up detection and elimination of methane leaks at well sites and other oil and gas facilities, it conceded the move “may … degrade air quality and adversely affect health and welfare”.

The move is part of a broad Trump administration effort to undo former president Barack Obama’s legacy programs to fight climate change by cutting emissions from oil, gas and coal.

The EPA conceded that relaxing the Obama-era rule for methane leaks at oil and gas sites would put another 380,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere by 2025. The amount is roughly equivalent to more than 30m tons of carbon dioxide, another fossil-fuel emission that receives far more attention in efforts to slow climate change.