The US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, delivered an epic smackdown to the EPA and its administrator, the nefarious Scott Pruitt, over a plan to delay implementation of methane emissions rules. Pruitt, you may recall, is the former Oklahoma attorney general who has made a career selling out the public interest to the fossil fuel industry.
Pruitt Exceeded His Authority
In its 31 page opinion, the court ruled 2 to 1 that Pruitt overstepped his authority by trying to delay the implementation of a rule initiated during the Obama administration requiring oil and gas companies to reduce the amount of methane emissions created by their operations.
As is normal for the US fossil fuel industries, they contend compliance with the rule would be too costly and would make some of their business ventures unprofitable. The industry, which largely represents the thinking of the reprehensible Koch brothers, care not one whit if people die because of their activities or if drinking water in communities throughout the US is so loaded with pollutants that tap water sometimes ignites when it comes out of the faucet.
Fossil Fuel Industry Shirks Its Responsibility
Not our problem, the fossil fuel companies contend. They argue they have a God-given right to pollute the environment all they want and foist the economic and survival burden of their activities onto the shoulders of others.
Pruitt announced in April that he would delay implementation of the rule for 90 days. At the urging of the American Petroleum Institute — a front for Charles and David Koch — and other industry groups, Pruitt then announced he was delaying implementation for 2 years, claiming the fossil fuel gang had not had adequate time to comment on the proposed rule.
Climate Activists File Suit
A group of 6 climate activist groups sued Pruitt and the EPA. The court ruled Pruitt had no authority to delay the rule and further that the industry had indeed had ample time to comment and have their input considered by the Obamans.
“This ruling declares EPA’s action illegal — and slams the brakes on the Trump administration’s brazen efforts to put the interests of corporate polluters ahead of protecting the public and the environment,” said David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
An EPA spokesperson said the agency is reviewing the court’s decision and evaluating its options. The government could ask to have the matter heard by all the judges of the Court of Appeals or seek to take the matter to the Supreme Court.
Methane More Dangerous Than Carbon Dioxide
Methane is a major component of natural gas and traps up to 80 times as much heat once released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Last year the largest methane leak in US history spewed an estimated 100,000 tons of the stuff into the skies over southern California. Researchers claim the release was worse for the environment than the catastrophic BP oil platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
Methane is just another fossil fuel that must be eliminated from global commerce as quickly as possible, even if the Koch brothers suffer the loss of a farthing or two in the process. Constantly asking others to clean up their messes is wearing a bit thin and the world doesn’t have time to wait any longer.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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