Sep 5, 2018

Exxon reasserts its methane position as EPA preps rollback

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

ExxonMobil is reasserting its self-imposed commitment to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that’s the primary component of natural gas, as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to repeal regulations.

Why it matters: The comments, posted Tuesday by the CEO of XTO Energy, an Exxon subsidiary with large U.S. natural-gas operations, illustrate an awkward predicament facing industry under President Trump. Some of the biggest global companies are seeking to emphasize a social license to produce fossil fuels even as the Trump administration pursues aggressive regulatory rollbacks.

"Our view on methane regulation remains: We think there should be a cost-effective federal regulatory standard to manage methane emissions for both new and existing source oil and gas facilities."
— Sara Ortwein, president, XTO Energy

What’s next: The EPA is gearing up to soon issue a smaller, technical rule that environmentalists say will weaken the Obama-era regulations, as we reported a few weeks ago. A few months later, the agency plans to propose a broader draft rule that likely contains a preference for wholly rolling back direct rules on methane — instead relying on a separate air-pollution rule issued in 2012 that indirectly cuts methane emissions as it targets other air pollutants.

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The growing coronavirus recession threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact.

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health