Court strikes down Obama-era rule targeting methane leaks from public lands drilling

A federal court on Thursday struck down an Obama-era regulation targeting methane leaks from drilling on public lands, arguing that it went beyond the scope of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which promulgated the rule. 

The 2016 rule required oil and gas companies to cut a practice called flaring, in which natural gas is burned, by half, inspect their sites for leaks and replace old equipment that released too much methane. 

The court argued that although the rule’s stated purpose was to reduce waste, it was essentially used to regulate air quality, which is not the job of the BLM. 

“Although the stated purpose of the Rule is waste prevention, significant aspects of the Rule evidence its primary purpose being driven by an effort to regulate air emissions, particularly greenhouse gases,” wrote judge Scott Skavdahl, an Obama appointee. 

Skavdahl particularly noted that the rule’s cost-benefit analysis only showed the rule to be beneficial “if the ancillary benefits to global climate change are factored in."

Read More At Inside Climate News

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