Published on April 8th, 2018 | by James Ayre0
14 US States Sue EPA Over Methane Emission Standards Delays
April 8th, 2018 by James Ayre
A new lawsuit has been filed against the US Environmental Protection Agency by 14 states due to the agency’s slow action to date concerning the issuance of federal methane emissions standards, according to recent reports.
The new legal challenge against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being led by New York State, and follows roughly 9 months after a federal appeals court ruled that that EPA wasn’t legally able to freeze the enforcement of its methane leak rules with regard to oil and gas operations.
Methane, for those not following the issue closely, is a potent greenhouse gas, and leaks are very common around oil and gas operations throughout the US (and presumably elsewhere as well). Due to this reality (and others), the EPA is legally required to issue relevant regulations under the Clean Air Act (going on the ruling 9 months ago).
“The EPA has a clear legal duty to control methane pollution from oil and gas operations,” commented New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Its continued refusal to do so is not only illegal, but threatens our public health and environment.”
Reuters provides more: “In March 2017 (President) Trump signed an order to undo climate rules. And the EPA that month halted efforts to collect data from fossil fuel operations to prepare performance standards that states would have to follow in devising methane-control measures for existing wells, pipelines, storage tanks, pumping stations and other facilities.
“It was EPA’s ‘unreasonable delay’ in developing those standards that Thursday’s lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Washington, cited as a Clean Air Act violation … (EPA chief Scott) Pruitt was named as the sole defendant in the complaint, which seeks a court order compelling the EPA to devise and issue the emissions standards in question.”
In addition to New York State, the other states involved in the lawsuit include California, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Illinois, Iowa, and New Mexico, amongst others. The District of Columbia and the City of Chicago are both involved in the lawsuit as well.
In related news, see: 11 US States To Challenge EPA Rollback Of 2025 Fuel-Efficiency Standards.