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Trump administration pushes rollback on climate-changing oil emissions

Trump administration pushes rollback on climate-changing oil emissions

However, as Politico explained, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has proposed doing away with these regulations in the past, and it has not panned out - so there's a chance that Wheeler will not be able to turn the regulations into law.

On Thursday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce a rollback on federal policy stipulating that energy companies must identify and fix methane leaks at oil and gas facilities. BP has said it is already taking steps to limit methane emissions. "Our regulations should not stifle this innovation and progress".

The agency will continue regulating volatile organic compounds, which are also released during oil and gas operations, rather than methane directly.

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. The proposals made today are separate from and in addition to a 2018 proposed rule that eased methane reporting and monitoring requirements for oil- and gas-extraction businesses.

While environmental groups pointed to the long-term impact, the oil industry said the direct immediate effect on methane emissions would be negligible. Exxon Mobil similarly said it "will continue to urge the EPA to retain the main features of the existing methane rule".

A study by the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group, concluded that the oil and gas industry was emitting far more of the heat-trapping gas than is reported to the EPA.

Once the EPA's new proposal is published in the Federal Register, there is a 60-day window for public comment and a public hearing will be held. The rule allows US states to make their own decisions on ways and timetables to cut emissions, demanding much smaller carbon reductions.

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As iPolitics reports, Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said Doug Ford's government is committed to "using every tool at (their) disposal" to fight against the federal Liberals' Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, enacted in April.

"The rule changes inject more regulatory uncertainty into the system and is a rejection of the vast and increasing body of science that shows that climate change is affecting humans around the globe and right here in IN", she added.

The industry has been divided over how methane should be regulated. President Donald Trump, who insists he is an environmentalist, has also relaxed rules on carbon emissions from vehicles and intends to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change.

It is expected to face strong oppositions and legal actions from environmentalists.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would remove parts of the natural gas production process from methane restrictions, including compressor stations and underground storage.

Trump has pushed to open vast expanses of USA wilderness and coastline to oil and gas drilling, speed construction of petroleum pipelines and ease regulations on the industry, dismissing calls from scientists in and out of government for rapid cuts in oil, gas and coal emissions to stave off the worst of climate change.