A coalition of 15 Attorneys General, joined by the City of Chicago have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for “ignoring its legal duty to control emissions of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, from existing oil and gas operations.”

Specifically, the lawsuit charges that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the federal Clean Air Act by “unreasonably delaying” its mandatory obligation under the Act to control methane emissions from these operations.       

“Over and over again, the Trump administration has put polluters before the health and safety of New Yorkers,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, one of the signatories, said in a statement. “The EPA has a clear legal duty to control methane pollution from oil and gas operations, one its largest sources. Its continued refusal to do so is not only illegal, but threatens our public health and environment, and squanders savings of over $100 million annually. Our coalition has made clear: when the Trump administration thumbs their nose at the law and endangers New Yorkers, we’ll see them in court.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, and the City of Chicago.

In May 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will stay rules intended to curb methane emissions from oil and gas explorations, in particular fracking projects and both new and modified wells.

A performance standard imposed by the Obama Administration established new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions and volatile organic compound emissions from the oil and natural gas sector. Among the requirements was to detect and repair leaks of methane and other pollutants, certifying those fixes by a professional engineer.

The EPA, under Pruitt, has sought to eliminate the requirements.