The Trump administration finalized its plans on Tuesday to weaken the regulations on methane gas releases which result from drilling on public land.
This amoral action from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) destroys key parts of Obama-era rule that limited the releases of the greenhouse gas in oil and gas production done on publicly owned lands which is leased to heavily polluting fossil fuel companies.
The BLM’s new rule will allow for a lot more methane leaks through a practice called venting or flaring, adding significantly to air pollution. Previously, the Obama administration had estimated that the evil practice cost taxpayers over $330 million annually via lost revenue.
The amoral announcement from the greed-driven Trump administration comes one week after the GOP-compromised Environmental “Protection” Agency moved to roll back another separate methane regulation which sought to limit the release of the gas coming from drilling nationwide.
Methane is 25 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, in terms of its effect on global warming. Although methane makes up 10% of greenhouse gases, says the EPA, both of the methane rules were crucial to the Obama administration’s noble push to lessen the impacts from global warming.
With Tuesday’s foolish rollback, the Interior Department is now rescinding the key portions of the important Obama rule, including the requirements for drillers to have written plans to cut down on wasted gas and the requirements to catch a certain percentage of the gas.
The agency admitted that there will be societal costs of about $1.09 billion over the next decade due to the wasted gas along with negative impacts of climate change, but since corporations which donate to Republicans will profit and be pleased, the Interior Department believes that, on balance, it’s okay to hurt people and damage the Earth’s environment for personal gain.
Methane, which is a primary component in natural gas, is a dangerous fume. The two biggest contributors of methane are the leaks from natural gas drilling and raising of livestock, which comes hand in hand with severe and chronic animal abuse.
Conservationists rightly criticized Interior Secretary and man with no conscience Ryan Zinke for the reduced rules, saying that it benefits the world-destroying fossil fuel industry at the great expense of American taxpayers.
“Secretary Zinke needs to look American taxpayers in the eye and explain why he cost them $800 million over the next decade,” Chris Saeger, the executive director for the Western Values Project, stated. “Axing this rule lines the pockets of the corporate special interests that have bought and paid for Secretary Zinke and hurts the American taxpayer.”
Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said the new rule is “another egregious giveaway to irresponsible polluters.”
“The methane rule was established with wide support after years of open dialogue and stakeholder involvement,” Udall said. “And the evidence is clear: this rule has had no negative effect on job creation or on the booming U.S. oil and gas production on federal lands.”
The California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (a Democrat) plans to sue the government on Tuesday to challenge the terrible rollback, his spokeswoman said.