Aug 29, 2019

EPA proposes roll back to Obama-era methane regulations

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules Thursday designed to ease Obama-era regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas business.

Why it matters: Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. The oil and gas industry is a significant source of emissions from wells plus natural gas pipelines, compressors and other equipment.

  • But the Trump administration argues there'd be "minimal environmental benefits if [the EPA] were to take the prior path," per an EPA press call on Thursday.

Details: The EPA is "co-proposing two actions":

  • "In its primary proposal, the agency would remove sources in the transmission and storage segment of the oil and gas industry from regulation," a release reads.
  • "In an alternative proposal, EPA would rescind the methane emissions limitations without removing from regulation any sources from the transmission and storage segment of the industry."

The intrigue: Oil companies aren't all on the same page. According to the New York Times, the powerful lobbying group American Petroleum Institute praised the forthcoming plan.

  • But the NYT notes that Shell, ExxonMobil and BP support federal restrictions.
  • On Thursday's call, an EPA spokesperson said the business community has offered "positive comments from across the board."

What they're saying: Environmental groups are pushing back on the change.

“If EPA manages to finalize and implement this illegal proposal, it will have devastating impacts on our climate for years to come,”
— said Darin Schroeder, an attorney with the Clean Air Task Force

Of note: The EPA stated it expects downward trends in methane emissions to continue despite proposed deregulation.

Go deeper: Exxon asks EPA to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

4 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.