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

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.