Originally published on Red Green and Blue.
While Pruitt’s (and Trump’s) EPA does its best to do its worst for the environment, and slow down and delay anything it can’t break outright, we do have one thing going for us: The Rule of Law. There are some things even Trump can’t do, and the DC Circuit just ruled that the EPA’s rule on methane pollution has got to be enforced. Sorry, Donald!
What does this mean? It’s pretty simple: For years, oil and gas drillers have dumped methane into the atmosphere, rather than capturing it. They said it was too expensive. The EPA said they had to do it anyway. Pruitt (and Trump) said “Okay, so we’ll just delay the rule.” The DC Circuit said no can do – you must enforce, and NOW.
A) A potent greenhouse gas, 30 times more damaging than CO2, and
B) Natural gas.
Yes, the stuff they are dumping into the atmosphere is the same stuff that fires power plants. It’s the same stuff they are fighting to build pipelines for, fighting to export as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), and fighting for the right to frack in NY, California and many other states.
They are also fighting for the right to dump it wholesale into the air we breath, rather than spend a few extra dollars for better quality drilling equipment that won’t leak like Trump’s White House.
Because it is, in fact, 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, reining it in is a very important step toward meeting our climate goals. So this court ruling is an incredibly important step in reigning Trump’s anti-environment, pro-oil agenda.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and NRDC took the lead in bringing this suit. Here’s David Doniger, director of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air program.:
“This ruling declares EPA’s action illegal — and slams the brakes on Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to put the interests of corporate polluters ahead of protecting the public and the environment.
“The ruling recognizes that EPA lacks the authority to simply scrap these critical protections. And it shows the courts are going to enforce the rule of law on health and environment. The Trump Administration’s war on the environment and our health has hit a brick wall.”
Tim Ballo, one of the Earthjustice attorneys on the case, was equally exultant:
“This is a big win for public health and a wake-up call for this administration,” he said “While Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump continue to bend over backwards to do the bidding of Big Oil, Earthjustice and our clients and partners will use every tool at our disposal to hold them fully accountable for their actions.”
And this is particularly good news for those of us fighting to defend the environment, because this sends a serious message to Trump and Pruitt. As The Hill’s Timothy Cama noted, “…the D.C. court, the main court for hearing challenges to regulatory decisions, warned the administration it would take a hard look at such delays and would allow them to proceed only if they are specifically required under the law.”
Reprinted with permission.
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