Apr 21, 2017

Oil-and-gas industry splits over EPA methane rule

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Some global oil-and-gas companies are splitting from smaller, more domestic players over whether EPA should alter or simply jettison methane emissions standards for new wells.

Why it matters: The side that prevails could signal which industry faction wields the most influence as the White House upends Obama-era policies. Oh, and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.

What's happening: This week EPA Chief Scott Pruitt said companies can forgo compliance with Obama's 2016 methane rule for at least three months. The move sets up a debate over whether to make Obama's mandate more industry-friendly, or scrap it outright.

Battle lines: Big international companies like Royal Dutch Shell want a less restrictive methane rule on the books, industry sources say. One reason is because the massive companies can comply easily. Another is that favoring the rule enables the industry to tout natural gas as a solution to climate change. (Burning natural gas spews way less carbon dioxide than coal, but methane leaks can erode much of that climate advantage.)

But there are two reasons independent producers like Devon Energy want the rule killed with no replacement:

  1. Compliance costs are a bigger deal for independents than behemoths like ExxonMobil.
  2. Independents are more ideologically opposed to Obama's EPA agenda and don't believe the agency should regulate methane.

Our thought bubble: Pruitt may be more inclined to side with the independent players. They're the top producers in Oklahoma, where he served as attorney general and had close ties to those companies.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 755,591 — Total deaths: 36,211 — Total recoveries: 158,527.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 148,089 — Total deaths: 2,599 — Total recoveries: 4,886.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  4. State updates: At least 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders to residents. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than 9,500 people have been hospitalized.
  5. Business latest: Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Axios co-founder Roy Schwartz discusses his experience being diagnosed with the virus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 58 mins ago - Health