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Photo: Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it was easing up on requirements for oil and gas producers and making other changes to an Obama-era rule cutting emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as it works toward a broader repeal in the coming months.

Why it matters: Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that’s also the primary component of natural gas. It’s sometimes purposefully or inadvertently leaked in the production and transport of the fuel — and when drilling for oil. The EPA has been slow in its approach toward rolling back Obama-era methane rules.

One level deeper: As we reported a few weeks ago, the agency is set to later propose a broader draft rule that includes a range of regulatory options, but likely contains a preference for wholly rolling back direct rules cutting methane from new wells, according to an administration official. The proposal will instead point to a separate air-pollution rule issued in 2012 that inadvertently cuts methane emissions as it targets other air pollutants.

The big picture: The EPA’s methane moves are the latest in a broad regulatory rollback ordered by President Trump. The Interior Department is working on repealing another rule cutting methane emissions from oil and gas wells on federally owned lands. Other big rules that have been rolled back and/or replaced with far looser versions include the cutting of carbon emissions from power plants and stricter fuel-efficiency standards of cars.

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

Details: Dressel won the race in 21.07 seconds. France's Florent Manaudou won the silver medal, and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus bagged the bronze.

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.