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Court orders EPA to enforce methane rule

Joe Mont | July 5, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency had no right to halt enforcement of a methane reduction rule imposed during the Obama Administration, a federal court ruled this week.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had no authority under the Clean Air Act to suspend the rule without a formal rulemaking process and public comment period.

The methane rule was enacted in May 2016 with the goal of reducing methane gas emissions to nearly half of 2012 levels.

The performance standard establishes 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.

In an April 18 letter to oil and gas companies, the EPA, under Pruitt’s direction, reported that it would reconsider the fugitive emission...

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