Science

Trump administration to relax restrictions on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas

Trump administration to relax restrictions on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas”

29, 2019-The Trump administration announced today a plan to do away with the regulation of methane emissions. "The wealth is under its feet", he said, praising oil and gas production.

Canada signed a deal with the U.S.in March 2016 that would see the two countries adhere to the same high standards of capping emissions of methane, a component of natural gas that's frequently wasted through leaks or intentional releases during drilling operations.

But its potency in trapping heat is about 84-87 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year-period, falling to 28-36 times greater over 100 years, according to United Nations figures. Executives from both companies criticized the proposal Thursday.

The Trump administration has previously targeted the Obama administration's 2016 rule, first proposing to halt its enforcement while considering replacing or repealing it.

"The Trump Administration recognizes that methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use", he added. While these companies can voluntarily do their part to prevent leaks, without industry-wide restrictions, there's no guarantee that smaller, independent companies that might not be inclined to shell out for costly leak-prevention programs won't make a blunder that ruins the reputation of natural gas, not to mention the environment, for everyone.

However, if the regulations do go into effect, it could have significant effects on the climate crisis.

It said the proposal would "rescind emissions limits for methane, from the production and processing segments of the industry".

In addition to seeking to roll back methane emissions limits, the agency is asking for "alternative interpretations of EPA's legal authority to regulate pollutants" under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

The administration rollbacks on emissions from oilfields, storage sites and pipelines have split the oil industry, worrying some in the industry about growing blowback in a world increasingly mindful of climate change.

Some oil majors this year urged the administration to crack down - not ease up - on the emissions. They repeated that request Thursday.

Exxon Mobil also supports federal regulation of methane from oil and gas sources.

"While the law may change in this instance, our environmental commitments will stand", Gretchen Watkins, Shell U.S. president, said in a statement.

Leyden says the rollback would have an outsized effect not only on methane, but also on other emissions here because Texas already has weak emissions rules.

The increased emissions would also result in a loss to "total present value of climate benefits" between $2.3 million and $8.1 million per year, the EPA says.

"We don't preclude anyone from going above and beyond if that's the thing that they need to do from a business and a compliance standpoint", said Anne Idsal, the EPA's acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, in response to Shell's comments on a conference call with reporters Thursday.



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