EPA moves to block Obama’s methane rule for oil and gas wells


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead on President Donald Trump’s pledge to do away with environmental regulations that curb domestic oil and gas production.

The agency announced Wednesday it was reconsidering an Obama administration rule curbing methane emissions from new oil and gas wells – a measure designed to reduce the U.S. impact on climate change.

“EPA is continuing to follow through with President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “American businesses should have the opportunity to review new requirements, assess economic impacts and report back, before those new requirements are finalized.”

The agency said in a letter Tuesday it was staying the June 3 compliance date for the methane rule 90 days while it took public comment.

The move follows an executive order by President Donald J. Trump last month ordering federal agencies to review any and all of Obama’s regulation related to climate change – most notably the Clean Power Plan, which was expected to force the closure of vast numbers of U.S. coal plants.